You’ve heard of a freeze on council tax – but now local authorities are also freezing cats and dogs.

Pets killed on the roads are being stored in freezers by councils in case their owners want to reclaim their dead animals.

Worthing and Adur councils have stored more than 100 cats and dogs in chest freezers over the last two years.

Other councils dispose of pets at waste depots while Crawley Borough Council has a long-standing agreement to deliver dead pets to Chestnut Lodge Pet Crematorium and Cemetery in Felbridge.

Figures obtained by The Argus also show the high number of pets killed on our roads each year with one recovered almost every day in Brighton and Hove.

Worthing and Adur councils store cats and dogs in two chest freezers at council depots in at Commerce Way, Lancing, and Meadow Road, Worthing, where each body is bagged and labelled.

A council official said the length of time pets were stored varied because they waited until enough animals were in storage for them to be collected by a specialist disposal company.

The council also waited to allow enough time for owners to come forward although only around 1% of owners did collect their pets.

A Worthing and Adur council spokeswoman said: “It is important to remove animals from roadsides as it can be very upsetting for the general public.

“It is better to remove them for obvious reasons, however we do check each animal for tags and collars and try to contact the owner.”


Stephen Mayles, vice chair of the association of private pet cemeteries and crematoria and owner of Chestnut Lodge who offer a burial or cremation service, said Crawley Borough Council would bring up to 100 pets a year to them.

He added: “One of the most distressing things is not knowing what happens to your pet if it just disappears. The council can check for marks so when owners ring up they can tell them.

“Unfortunately some of them are not in a great condition after being hit by a car, so pet owners can identify them but it’s not normally very nice for them.”

He added: “A lot of people don’t think to call the council when their pet disappears.”

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokeswoman said 319 pets were collected last year.

She added: “We do collect dead animals but we do not store them.

“They are disposed of as normal street cleansing waste, however, we do scan for micro chipping and if we are able to trace the owner we will inform them of the situation.”

An Eastbourne Borough Council spokesman said that all dead animals, including pets, were “sensitively removed” by its waste contractor and taken to one of the disposal points in East Sussex.

The spokesman added: “In the event that a dead pet is found on the road the contractor is required to keep a record of the location and a description of the animal for the reference of concerned pet owners.”

A Hastings Borough Council spokesman said the authority had 245 dead animal disposal requests a year and about a tenth of these were pets.

He added that ‘every attempt’ was made to ID the owner of cats and dogs.