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Owners urged to identify dogs


DOG OWNERS in Devon and Cornwall are being urged to identify their dogs properly in an effort to reduce the problem of strays.

One in eight calls made to police last year related to lost and found items, of which 30% concerned stray dogs.

About 95% of dogs that went missing did not have proper identification, which is a legal requirement.

Police said although microchipping was an excellent initiative, it was not a substitute for a named tag and collar.

Ch Inspector Sarah Nutt said: ‘It is a legal requirement that dog owners fit their pet with a collar and tag when the animal is in a public place. The owner's name and address must be written on the tag and the owner's phone number would also be helpful.’

Dog warden Wendy Johnson said complying with the law would not only help reduce the distress caused by losing a pet, but would ensure they could be safely and quickly returned.

‘Losing a dog that does not have proper identification can become very expensive for its owner,’ she said. ‘The owner is liable to pay a fine, kennelling costs and any veterinary care that is required if the dog is picked up by the council.’

From Monday of this week (April 6th) a change in the law comes into effect, with police no longer having any responsibility for stray dogs ‘out of hours’ and local authorities taking sole charge of stray dogs from being reported lost to being returned to their owner. Dogs not claimed after seven days of being picked up by the local authority will either be rehomed or, in rare cases, put down.

From 6 April in Devon members of the public who wish to report a dog lost or found should contact their local authority. However, the change in the law does not become effective in Cornwall until June 1st for operational reasons.

Devon and Cornwall Police – like all other police forces in he UK - will still be responsible for enforcing the law regarding dogs classified as ‘dangerous’.