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The NCDL hosts Commons party

Photo by paul Keevil
Paul Robertson, Principal Environmental Health Officer with Middlesbrough Council,
receives his Argus Award medal from NCDL Chairman Philip Daubney

For several years now, the Chairman and the Trustees of the NCDL have hosted an annual drinks reception at the House of Commons, where canine charieties, workers and interested parties can get together and meet animal friendly MPs on a one to one basis, writes Paul Keevil.

This year’s reception was held on Monday 31st March on the South terrace of the House of Commons, on the edge of the River Thames, overlooking Westminster Bridge and the London Eye. This year’s sponsor was Mr Derek Conway MP and the winner of the annual Argus Award for outstanding work in the field of animal welfare went to Paul Robertson, Principal Environmental Health Officer with Middlesbrough Council.

Middlesbrough is an area which has suffered from a particularly acute stray and abandoned dog problem. But thanks to Paul's outstanding dedication this is all changing. Working in partnership with the NCDL he has introduced innovative microchipping, neutering, rehoming and educational initiatives, Paul has managed to reduce the numbers of dogs being destroyed in the area by nearly 60% in the last three years. The number of dogs straying has fallen by more than half in the same period. Through his efforts, Paul has proved an inspiration to other local authorities, many of whom had previously regarded stray and abandoned dogs as a very low priority.

As a result, he has helped to save the lives of dogs, not just in Middlesbrough but across the UK. He was presented with a commemorative medal and a specially commissioned framed certificate by NCDL Chairman Philip Daubney.

The value of this informal gathering should not be underestimated. The minister responsible for animals welfare, Elliott Morley was in attendance, as were several other MP's of all persuasions who were actively being lobbied in an informal way by the welfare workers and interested parties in attendance.