Page last updated at 18:56 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 19:56 UK

Family's urine bid to locate dog

Missing dog Simon
Simon is described as timid and "not very approachable"

A family who tried to lure back a lost dog by leaving a trail of their urine on streets near their home have been criticised by the city council.

The Baltesz family, of Clifton, Bristol, lost their 10-year-old pet labrador Simon on the night of 4 July.

When Simon failed to return, the family chose their unorthodox method.

A Bristol City Council spokeswoman said: "We would not consider this to be a good idea from an environmental health point of view."

Louise Baltesz, 43, said the whole family had been "chipping in" to help lay down the scent trail.

She said she was aware of criticism aimed at the family, but they were willing to do anything to get Simon back.

'Very diluted'

"There are people who are upset about it, but I'm too emotionally drained to think about it," she said. "I'm worried about it - I really am.

"If everyone peed in the street it would be disgusting, wouldn't it? But it's very, very diluted."

Jonathan Baltesz, 44, wife Louise, and children Henry, 15 and Clara, 13
The family said they were desperate to get Simon back

Mrs Baltesz said the idea for the scent trail came from a website which offered a range of advice to owners of missing dogs.

She said: "I do feel mad doing it, but I'm driven to desperate measures.

"Apparently it's quite a normal way of doing it. You just put a little bit in a bottle and then top it up with water.

"You put some smelly food down, they come towards the food and then catch the scent [of the urine]. You only have to do it once. We've left two trails."

'Owner's scent'

The family have put up "missing" posters and have received several possible sightings of Simon, who is described as "not very approachable" and naturally timid.

But a vet at a nearby practice was less than optimistic the plan would succeed.

Ian Wills, from the nearby Zetland Veterinary Hospital in Bristol, said: "I think it's an interesting idea but I would be pleasantly surprised if it worked.

"When a dog wanders off from home they will generally wander back when they have had enough.

"If the dog was going to follow the owner's scent it would be from something they wore, like a jumper. Unless they have an incontinence problem."

A Bristol City Council spokeswoman said it was unlikely the authority would take any action against the family.

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