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Dog team goes for gold

Wandsworth council’s Dog Unit has won two gold awards in the RSPCA’s prestigious Community Animal Welfare Footprints scheme.

It is the only local authority to pick up two awards out of a possible four in the new scheme, which aims to recognise the work done in the public sector to improve animal welfare.
The awards were presented for the unit’s work with stray dogs and its work on the borough’s housing estates. It was one of only two councils to win a gold.

Wandsworth Dog Unit promotes responsible dog ownership through education, picks up stray dogs and enforces bye-laws relating to dogs, such as fouling and cruelty.

It is the largest local authority dog control service in the country and, since it was set up in 1987, has dealt with thousands of stray or dangerous dogs.

The team are currently in the forefront of setting up a database of dogs living on Wandsworth’s housing estates. All new and existing tenants will be required to have their dog microchipped, and leaseholders will also be offered a free chipping service.

The RSPCA has welcomed the scheme, the first of its kind in the country, which it believes will benefit dogs and their owners and help prevent irresponsible dog ownership and anti-social behaviour.

Mark Callis, manager of the unit, said he was delighted to win the awards.

‘Our staff work hard to protect the welfare of dogs and to educate owners, so it’s nice to have their efforts recognised.

‘We will continue this work, and would urge all dog owners, or anyone considering getting a dog, to learn all they can, be responsible and get their animal microchipped.’