Council’s stray dog service strikes gold
‘GOLDEN RETRIEVER’ Andrew Weaver has helped scoop a top award for Newark and Sherwood District Council’s dog warden service.
Andrew, the council’s former dog warden but now one of its community protection officers, and the public protection team have secured the gold in the RSPCA PawPrints Awards for their ‘top collar’ work with strays.
The accolade recognises the council’s commitment and dedication to lost dogs in the district.
The RSPCA, the largest animal welfare charity in the UK, praised the dog warden service which, for more than 30 years, has helped thousands of stray dogs be reunited with their owners or help them 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”.
Councillor Roger Jackson, district council leisure and environment committee chairman, said: "This is a fantastic achievement and a demonstration of our commitment to animal welfare. We want the best for the animals that have gone astray and it is brilliant to see their work highlighted.
“All dogs over eight weeks old in England must be microchipped 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 publishing a photo appeal on social media.”
The award recognises the importance of education and rewards councils which 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.
This year the council hosted 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.
The forthcoming Christmas period sees a spike in the number of dogs which are abandoned or go stray and prospective owners are asked to consider thoroughly the responsibilities involved in taking in a four-legged companion.