Stray dogs policy 'postcode lottery'

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The handling of dogs handled has become a “postcode lottery” according to a number of animal welfare charities who carry out dog rehoming.

Since 2008 councils have a legal duty to deal with dogs in their area.

But the charities warned that cuts to local authority budgets meant services being “curtailed or cut”, with charities left to “pick up the pieces”.

They spoke to MPs at the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

The committee has previously recommended that the responsibility for dogs be passed to the police if dog warden services cannot be maintained by local authorities at a time of tight budgets.

Steve Goody of welfare charity Blue Cross said there was a “real concern” that local authorities were not able to meet their statutory responsibility to handle dogs.

‘Squeezed’

He told MPs: “Our rehoming centres are contacted on a daily basis with regard to inquiries form members of the public who have picked up a stray dog and have absolutely no idea what to do with it, particularly out of hours and at weekends.

“What is of significant concern to us – and we recognise that local authorities are being squeezed in terms of resources – is the fact that services are either being curtailed or cut.

“Dog wardens are being laid off, or contracted services are disappearing. Quite often the responsibility is passed to a member of a department with little or on background in dog welfare at all. Therefore, the local authorities are as

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