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An animal lover has been left ‘heartbroken’ after Stockport council workers sent her dead cat for cremation without her knowledge.

The authority says it scanned ‘Snaps’  - Gemma Robertshaw’s beloved 18-year-old Persian moggy - but was unable to detect an electronic chip, leaving it no choice but to dispose of the body.

But Gemma says the pet was wearing a collar tag with her contact details, which she claims would have been found by anyone who had checked Snaps’ after his death.

The mum-of-two, from Southdown Crescent, Cheadle Hulme, also says she had her cat microchipped and had notified the database he was missing.

After frantically searching for Snaps for five days, Gemma made the horrifying discovery he had been attacked and killed by two dogs that got loose in nearby Lawnhurst Close.

He was sent to Stockport tip and then on to Leyland Pet Crematorium to be incinerated with several other unidentified animals.

Gemma says her family is distraught that their much-loved pet has been ‘thrown away like a piece of rubbish’.

Snaps (Image: Gemma Robertshaw)

“All I got was a scrap of fur, left on the drive. That’s all I have been left with, I’m just absolutely devastated,” she said.

“I have had him 18 years and the council said it tried to scan him but couldn’t find a chip.

"[But] his collar had my number on - he had a little silver tag on his collar but they had not even bothered to look for it.

“I’m just heartbroken, he was a massive part of our family. People think he was just a cat, but he isn’t, I’ve had him 18 years - ever since my husband and I have been together."

Gemma first realised that Snaps - who rarely strayed far from home -  was missing on a Monday night after he had been let out for his usual ‘potter around’.

By Tuesday evening, she and husband Pete began to get seriously worried as he had still not returned.

A frantic Gemma took a week off work to search for him, putting up flyers and sending out desperate appeals on social media - including the offer of a reward.

She ploughed £200 into the hunt, and was often up until the early hours of the morning searching for Snaps, in the hope of bringing him home.

However, the Saturday after he went missing, she was called by a resident of Lawnhurst Close, who said a white persian cat had been attacked and killed on her drive by dogs from a nearby house.

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“He had been attacked by dogs on Tuesday night. Before I started looking for him he was already dead,” said Gemma, who works in clinical audit at Wythenshawe Hospital.

“This man had come round chasing after his dogs - they had escaped and he had come running after them, but by that time the cat had died on the driveway.”

Snaps body was put in a plastic bag and taken away by an on-call council worker to Stockport tip.

After calling the council out-of-hours, Gemma was told Snaps’ body had been taken to Sharston tip.

She drove there to look at ‘a freezer of dead animals’ but Snaps was not among them.

Peter Robertshaw, Ellis Robertshaw (2) and Georgian Robertshaw (5) with their beloved pet cat, Snaps (Image: Gemma Robertshaw)

Some five phone calls later it transpired that he was actually taken to a tip in Stockport - but by that time he had already been transferred to Leyland where his body was destroyed.

Gemma was left to break the news to her two young children - Georgia, aged five, and two-year-old Ellis.

“Ellis doesn’t really understand, he keeps asking where Snaps is, but Georgia is devastated," said Gemma.

"She was distraught by the fact I was distraught and when I found him it broke her heart."

The family has three other cats  but it was Snaps who had a special place in her children’s hearts.

“He was one in a million, he is the only cat who really bonded with the children , it does leave a massive whole in our family,” said Gemma.

The 37-year-old, who also received cruel prank phone calls from people who had seen her posters, said she had ‘gone through hell’ after Snaps disappearance.

And she is now urging people to take any dead pets to a local vet as she does not trust the council to make the necessary efforts to trace their owners.

“They are not mandated to scan them , it’s not the law, it’s just best practice (for the council). If it’s not law, they don’t have to , they have not bothered looking at his collar, it’s just bad manners really.

“I have had so many people on Facebook say they have had the same thing, they don’t bother looking - it’s cheaper practice.”

A Stockport council spokesperson said: “The Council fully understands that the loss of a pet is traumatic and upsetting.

"When we discover deceased pets on the street we do make every effort to identify the owners of the pet. Identification is usually through an ID collar, chip or sometimes through information provided by neighbours.

“Unfortunately though it is not always possible to locate the owner, as was the case in this instance, and this leaves us no other course of action but to dispose of the body.”

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