Swindon Borough Council’s Licensing team has once again received top marks from the RSPCA for its stray dog service.
The prestigious gold standard was announced at the animal charity’s recent Community Animal Welfare Footprints (CAWF) awards.
The award scheme was developed 10 years ago by the RSPCA to recognise outstanding work carried out by local authorities, housing providers and other public service organisations, and to highlight those who go above and beyond statutory requirements to improve animal welfare and their communities.
Dealing with stray dogs goes beyond just animal welfare, as it has a much wider impact on the community on matters such as street cleanliness, public protection and anti-social behaviour.
The Council’s licensing team once again had to comply with a wide range of criteria in order to be awarded the gold standard, including assistance with compulsory micro-chipping, and regular proactive work to encourage responsible dog ownership.
This includes providing educational sessions in schools to help children understand how to safely interact with dogs.
The team also scooped a Silver Animal Activity Licensing Footprint, while the Council’s Environmental Protection Officer for Animals, Alison Waine, was nominated for a new special award, which recognises individual members of public sector staff who are making the biggest impact to animal welfare in England and Wales. Alison was nominated by local RSPCA Chief Inspector, Steph Daly.
Commenting on her recognition, Alison said: “We have an excellent relationship with our local RSPCA group and it is lovely to have this recognition from them.
“We have seen a 44 per cent increase in the number of stray dogs reported to us over the last two years but, despite that, we managed to reduce the number of dogs that were not claimed and so required a rescue space from 20 per cent to just 13 per cent.
“None of our unclaimed dogs were put to sleep including some that were ill, elderly or had behaviour issues as we were able to find excellent rescues to take them on and work with them.”
Cllr Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety, said: “We only have a small Animal Licensing team, so to gain this recognition from the RSPCA is a magnificent achievement.
“Alison and her colleague do a tremendous job and have changed the way they work so they provide a consistently efficient and effective service on limited resources. I would like to thank them for all their hard work – these awards are thoroughly deserved.”
To report a lost or found dog to the Animal Warden, call 01793 445500.