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Council may introduce destruction policy

A WEST Wales council may opt to put down stray dogs because of the difficulties in re-homing them, despite previously operating a ‘no kill’ policy.

Carmarthenshire Council says it can no longer guarantee strays will not be destroyed but hopes that destruction cases will be rare. It will cover the kennelling costs for up to 12 days, but will then consider what it terms ‘euthanasia’.

The Dogs Trust said while it encouraged all councils not to put strays down, Carmarthenshire had one of the best records in Wales in re-homing them.

County head of public protection Phil Davies said the council had previously operated a ‘non-destruct policy.’

‘Unfortunately, due to occasional difficulties in re-homing, the council has adopted an amended stray dog policy,’ he said. ‘The authority has a duty to keep stray dogs for seven clear days after seizure, however to allow adequate time to properly re-home the dogs, the council will cover the kennelling costs for up to 12 days.

‘If dogs cannot be re-homed or collected by a rescue agency by this day, which hopefully in practice will be rare, then officers will consider euthanasia.’

He said the council would continue to promote responsible dog ownership to try and reduce the number of strays. ‘Kennels cannot keep dogs for unlimited periods and we have to have some control over budget,’ he added. ‘This change in policy is not likely to make great savings, but will ensure costs do not escalate out of control.’

According to a survey by GfK NOP for the Dogs Trust 101,586 stray dogs were found in the UK last year, and 7,743 dogs were destroyed for want of a home. The charity said ideally all councils should adopt a non-destruction policy but if not, it encouraged them to work with the trust and to promote microchipping and neutering.

The trust's Welsh campaigns manager Sian Edwards said: ‘Carmarthenshire is one of the best councils that we work with in regards to how many campaigns they take up and the attitude of the dog wardens and kennel staff.

‘In Wales we are very fortunate in that most of the councils have a good relationship with at least one if not two rehoming organisations. The picture is not perfect but the local authorities are not having to destroy ridiculous numbers of dogs like they do in other parts of Britain.’