Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has given a cautious welcome to the government's Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act, but remains concerned about the implications of the Act for the welfare of stray dogs.
The Act, fast-tracked through parliament at the last chance before the general election, gives full responsibility for stray dogs to local authorities, removing any responsibility from the police.
While Dogs Trust has welcomed the move in principle, agreeing that a single body should be responsible, the charity has expressed its concern from the outset that sufficient funding has not been guaranteed to enable this.
Dogs Trust has worked closely with Alun Michael MP, who was the Defra minister responsible, on the issue, and will be involved in the drafting of guidance for local authorities on the new measures. However, although the charity has been given assurances by the minister that the funding and measures will be adequate, it has declared it will monitor the situation closely.
Chris Laurence, Dogs Trust Veterinary Director, said:
"The stray dog problem is a serious issue. In the last year alone, over 100,000 dogs were found straying in the UK, and 10,000 of these dogs were destroyed simply for want of a home. Dogs often stray at weekends and evenings, and it is essential that there is an efficient system to care for them in place 24 hours a day to prevent them suffering.
"While the move to place responsibility for stray dogs with a single body is a positive one, we will not be entirely happy until we are sure that local authorities are given sufficient funding and support to enable them to fulfil this duty properly."