A dog is at the centre of a legal battle over its ownership after a man claimed his pet was mistaken for a stray before being rehomed to a new family.
Nennella, a four-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, was owned by Walter Bocchetti before it went missing from a friend’s garden on September 21 last year.
It was caught on CCTV cameras leaping over the fence before wandering away, and was found roaming the streets of Tottenham hours later by a Haringey Council dog warden.
After seven days with the council, Nennella was subsequently transferred to the All Dogs Matter rescue and rehoming charity, which assumed it was a stray because it did not have a collar or a microchip.
Nennella has since been rehomed to new owners who took the dog in on October 12, Central London County Court heard.
Nennella went missing last September and wandered the streets before being spotted by a Haringey Council dog warden
Credit: Champion News
Mr Bocchetti, a chef living in north London, had named Nennella after the Italian word for “sweet”, and described the dog as “his world” following the comfort she gave him after his brother’s death.
The Italian national is now seeking to launch legal action against Nennella’s current owners, and a fundraiser set up to help cover his fees has so far raised £6,400.
The online appeal claims he was quoted a total of £20,000, plus VAT, in solicitor costs for the case.
Mr Bocchetti separately claimed Haringey Council transferred Nennella before “seven clear days” and alleged a breach of the Environmental Protection Act.
In response, Haringey Council said Nennella was rehomed to another family after a period of seven days in line with “usual practice” for the safe rehoming of pets.
The names of Nennella’s new owners must be given to Mr Bocchetti – which will allow him to pursue legal action – but cannot be disclosed publicly or as part of any future court case, Judge Marc Dight ruled.
Judge Dight did not make any remarks about the rights or wrongs of the dispute involving custody of the dog.
Cathryn McGahey QC, representing Mr Bocchetti, told the court that her client is “desperate for the return of his dog” and believes he “has a strong case”.
Following the disappearance, he spent a number of days contacting all of the rescue organisations he was aware of.
Mr Bocchetti did not microchip Nennella, claiming he was unaware of laws requiring owners to chip their dogs
Credit: Champion News
Mr Bocchetti had not microchipped Nennella, claiming that he was unaware of legislation requiring all owners to chip their dogs by the time they are eight weeks old.
Anyone whose dog is not microchipped is liable to be fined up to £500.
As a result, Ira Moss, the general manager of All Dogs Matter, said Nennella was not identifiable when she was “transferred in good faith” to the charity by the council.
“We placed her in foster home, as she was distressed in kennels, before formally rehoming her to a safe new home nearly a month later,” Ms Moss told The Telegraph.
“Nennella is really happy and settled in new home, where she has been for 10 months, after being adopted and her loving new owners would be heartbroken to now lose her. It’s a regrettable situation for everyone involved and we sympathise with all parties.”
A Haringey Council spokesman said: “We and our contractor take this matter extremely seriously and understand that this is an emotive issue.
“Our options are limited when a dog has no identification and unfortunately on this occasion there was no tag or microchip that would have given us the opportunity to return the dog to its owner. This is always our aim.
“We can confirm Nennella was rehomed after a period of seven days. Similar to many other councils this is our usual practice and we work closely with registered dog charities.”