NDWA Stray Dog Report 2000-2001
THE NATIONAL Dog Wardens' Association has now compiled its sixth Stray Dog Report.
One hundred and fifty six (35%) of the Local Authorities of the United Kingdom responded to our questionnaire providing information for the year 1st of April 2000 to 31st March 2001.
These Authorities represent the local government of over 21 million people (36% of the population of the UK) from Rural, Urban and Metropolitan areas. The sample represented in the returned questionnaires actually dealt with 43,844 stray dogs.
The equivalent of this total gives a UK projection of circa 125,300 stray dogs, which will have been dealt with by all Local Authorities in 2000 - 2001. This is 84% of the comparable total (146,361 dogs) projected for the year 1993 - 1994.
Again, in 2000 - 2001 incidence of stray dogs in the UK is slightly on the decline. Consistent with the reduction shown in the previous NDWA Stray Dog Reports.
Fifty one percent of the dogs dealt with in 2000 - 2001 (national projection circa 63,900 dogs) have been returned to their owners. This is the sixth NDWA Stray Dog Report to find that within 2% of 50% of the dogs, dealt with in any year by the local authorities of the UK, are returned to their owners.
This percentage figure has remained a constant regardless of the total number of dogs needing to be dealt with.
It can also be broken down a little further and shows that in 2000 - 2001, in keeping with previous years, only 15%, of the total number of dogs dealt with, were returned directly to their owner. 36% of the total number dealt with were returned to their owners via the kennels appointed by the local authority and usually this involved the owner in payment of a financial penalty before their dog could be returned to them.
This procedure, enabled by the environmental Protection Act 1990, we believe to have contributed to the overall decline in the incidence of stray dogs and a change in the ethos of dog ownership in which the custom and practice of irresponsible attitudes (e.g. the latchkey dog) have decreased.
Thirteen percent of the dogs dealt with in 2000 - 2001 (national projection circa 45,100 dogs) have been found new homes. This figure is, again, below the 'saturation' level for re-homing of 50,000 stray dogs per annum indicated by previous NDWA Stray Dog Reports and it naturally contributes to the increased percentage in the level of humane destruction.
It may be that dogs 'gifted', 'handed-over' or 'abandoned' to the dogs homes, animal charities and rescues have been on the increase and that we will see the 'saturation' level for the re-homing of the 'stray' dogs dealt with by the Local Authorities reduce; as people pass their animals directly to these agencies without taking the old option of putting them out to stray and be collected on the streets by the Local Authority. It may be that the increased practice in re-homing agencies, of attempting the rehabilitation of physically and psychologically 'damaged' dogs, by taking time to give them behavioural rehabilitation, ties up places which might have been available for 'sound' animals which, without space being available for them, have to be humanely destroyed. Whatever the reason there will always be a limit (saturation level) to the number of places available in new and appropriate homes. Population control, therefore, remains an important issue in dealing with the overall problem.
Dog breeders should think carefully before adding to the over-population problem and anyone who thinks their dog (male or female) is at risk of producing unwanted litters should carefully consider the option of neutering. There are good dogs desperately needing good homes every year, 2001 - 2002 will be no different, unless we show the will to make it different. Please, be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
If you want more information about the complete NDWA Stray Dog Report 2000 - 2001 please contact Cuthbert Jackson (NDWA Projects Officer) 01695 720225.