Paw-fect dog welfare service gets Gold score

24 October 2019

A paw-fect dog welfare service has been commended by the RSPCA for going above and beyond in its commitment and dedication to lost dogs in Newark and Sherwood.

The largest animal welfare charity in the UK has praised Newark and Sherwood District Council’s animal welfare team, which was awarded the Gold accolade in the Stray Dogs category as part of the RSPCA 2019 PawPrints Awards.

The district council has been operating a dog warden service for more than 30 years and has helped thousands of stray dogs either reunite with their owners or find a loving new home.

The category recognises the measures that are in place to ensure the welfare of stray dogs, including rehoming processes and veterinary treatment procedures for injured strays. It also recognises the hard work of staff, ensuring that officers are given the appropriate dog handling training as well as the knowledge to provide to new owners on how to prevent the animal straying again.

The RSPCA congratulated the team and added that going straight in at Gold is a “great achievement”.

In 2016, Stitch, a young English pointer-springer cross, was picked up by Newark and Sherwood District Council’s dog warden who noticed he had a ‘nose for work’ and now has cut out a new life sniffing out drugs for police and security companies.

The animal welfare team also played a key role in the case of stray dog Blake, a Border collie and Bella, an orphaned lamb, who famously went missing together in 2017 near Thoresby after forming an unlikely bond.

Andrew Weaver - the council’s dog warden at the time - dedicated hours, both during work time and in his own time, to help find the pair. Following various social media appeals and a rigorous and thorough search, Blake was reunited with his owner, Natalie Haywood several weeks later.

Councillor Roger Jackson, district council leisure and environment committee chairman, said: "To be presented with this award is a great achievement and testament to our commitment to animal welfare. The team are always working hard to secure the best possible outcomes for animals and it is brilliant to see their work highlighted.

“It is compulsory for all dogs over eight weeks old in England to be fitted with a microchip and this enables us to trace the owner of a stray dog. However, if this is not possible we do everything we can to reunite the dog with its owner, including publish a photo appeal on social media.”

The award also recognises the importance of education and rewards councils who actively promote schemes and services that may reduce the number of long-term strays and straying in the first instance, such as microchipping and neutering. 

In August this year, the council host its second annual ‘Bark in the Park’, two events aimed at promoting responsible dog ownership. More than 40 dogs and their owners attended and took advantage of the free health checks, neutering vouchers, free micro-chipping and safety advice that was on hand.

The Bark in the Park events were also set up in association with the district council’s PAWS campaign, which launched last year and was designed to promote all aspects of responsible dog ownership.

On average, the council receives around 300 calls a year reporting a stray or a missing dog. Many of these are quickly returned to their owners. Non-microchipped dogs are then taken to the council’s holding kennels for seven days to allow the owner to come forward and reclaim after which point re-homing procedures are in place to find the animal a loving, new home.

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