boxerpupCouncils around the UK run a Dog Warden (sometimes called Animal Warden) service.  This provides a stray collection, some education and poop prosecutions.  Or it should.  Policing of dog problems by councils is a huge expense yet there is reluctance to fund a proper education solution.  For several years I have contacted councils around the UK to gain funding for a scheme of referral to try and stop the repeat offenders.  There has not been one that has taken it up.

Councils are spending lots of money on dog control orders and taking dog owners to court over noise, nuisance and stray dogs.  Whilst some dog wardens can, and do give some advice, they are not behaviourists.  The problems are never solved and go on to need more money spending.  Surely it is more cost effective all round to run a scheme where owners who receive a complaint are required to attend a behaviour session.

Councils are only obliged to provide this service during office hours.  A few do run an out of hours collection service, often privately contracted. This means that in most areas a stray dog out of hours is simply left loose unless a kind member of the public takes it in.

Yes it needs funding.  To pay the trainers, to probably pay for neutering and flea/wormers and to follow up.  But if the end fambeachresult is that some owners stop offending and costing thousands surely it is worth it?

A new campaign is starting where we will again contact councils to run a pilot. We want to help dogs by educating owners.  The councils want to educate owners to cut the costs of nuisance complaints.  Surely this is worth a pilot?

If you have any contacts within your councils, please ask them to come and view this page or ask them to contact us.  If you are the victim of a complaint, please contact your council and ask them if they would work with us to help you.

The idea basics:

  • Every person receiving a complaint is automatically referred to a behaviourist for advice/assessment
  • Financial assistance is offered for neutering, worming and flea treatment
  • An advice pack is given to owners
  • A report is made to the council regarding the assessment
  • Follow up is done after 4 weeks
  • Records are kept for comparison purposes for ongoing assessment of impact against previous years of complaints

Any ideas welcomed.

About Safepets UK

Expert Witness behaviourist assessing dogs for court, treating cats and dogs. Covering Midlands to London and other areas.

6 responses »

  1. jaqui says:

    I totally agree with your proposals…I have a 13yr old dog and too scared to walk him Everytime i leave the house we encounter either dogs running free or off lead with their owners who presume its fine as their dog is fine with other dogs!!!!

    • safepets uk says:

      It is frustrating. To see councils policing for thousands of pounds and not funding solutions is depressing. Some owners are genuinely ignorant of proper care, some are poor, some don’t give a toss. If a few can be saved it’s worth it.

  2. Joy says:

    Im stuck on the fence a lot of councils already offer something similar and do it on a cost neutral basis ( i.e it costs them nothing) in particular for those who dog foul,disobey dog control orders… theres a fixed penalty system in place and this actually pays for the courts etc that you mentioned and therefore doesn’t actually cost councils who use these schemes. I like the idea of neutering etc but theres already hundreds of rescues and charities such as dogs trust who do exactly what you wish councils to pay for? so that leaves behaviourists, can I ask for what purpose? its often not the dogs at fault but their stupid owners.

    • safepets uk says:

      Thanks for commenting. The fixed penalties are nowhere near the cost of court action where it is taken, nor does it cover the staffing costs of follow up and visits. Every council I have met with has said their spending is way over what any fixed penalties bring in which is why many avoid taking action further, they can’t afford it and the repeat offenders keep doing it 😦
      Rescues don’t pay for private individuals to neuter their dogs. The Dogs Trust does indeed run a scheme to pay for or subsidise neutering, but most don’t qualify for it. A lot of councils, and The Mayhew in London do free bull breed neutering. This still leaves a lot of people who through money or ignorance have dogs causing nuisance. Many of the behaviour reasons why these dogs have caused a problem in the first place can be solved, hence the idea that behaviourists can help around the uk? Surely if the problem can be solved so that many don’t reoffend that is a bonus to us all?
      A council has just called me, having read this and wants to meet. They feel they are paying out tens of thousands of pounds to deal with dog problems and the numbers of complaints are increasing. They agreed they currently have no real way of educating dogs and owners so it doesn’t happen again.

  3. Jennifer Williams says:

    The biggest problem is no one can practice socializing their dogs anymore. A puppy party at the vets every so often is no use or dog training classes if you can’t practice your “homework” When I was a new pup owner years ago you could take your dog anywhere to train them…spent many a time getting new pups used to traffic, trains and bus stations.
    The only dogs that are allowed proper training nowadays are guide dogs or dogs for the disabled etc everywhere else is “No dogs allowed” so the animals either have to stay in the car (not much chance of being socialized there) which of coarse you can’t do either or be left a\t home where they never see anything or anybody. The only way to train your dog now (and other people who because of these rules don’t know how to socialize with dogs either) is to get them a hi viz coat or go to France.

    • safepets uk says:

      Interesting point, a lot of people say this. Taking a puppy or dog out can mean running the gauntlet of out of control dogs causing yours to develop a problem.
      Bit depressing really.

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