Redcar & Cleveland Council's rat catching dog retires

Ace the lurcher
Image caption The council's pest control team dealt with more than 1,200 calls last year.

A dog is retiring after spending the past 12 years catching thousands of rats for the council in Redcar.

Ace, a black lurcher, has been a pet and faithful sidekick of pest control officer Steve Maguire since he was just three months old.

But he is now leaving work at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council because of arthritis.

Trained as a pest control expert by his owner Steve, he will still keep him company at work in his van.

Ace has responded to residents' pleas to remove all manner of unwanted guests from housing estates and allotments to farms and parks.

The council have no plans to replace Ace with another dog.

Missing out

"He's got arthritis in his back hips, so he's not as agile as he used to be," said Mr Maguire.

"It's time for him to retire. He's still going to be coming out with me in the van, but he won't be working.

"I couldn't stop him coming out - he's had the same routine for so long and he'd think he was missing out on something if he wasn't there."

The council's pest control team dealt with more than 1,200 calls at both homes and business properties last year.

Councillor Steve Goldswain, said: "The expertise of the pest control team ensures problems are dealt with swiftly and effectively, and they are always on hand to give free advice."

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