Well, hello world (again). It’s good to be back. The more observant among you may have noticed that this site was one of the millions that was hacked a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, and somewhat ironically, it coincided with me adding a more powerful spam filter to the site which took me over the default bandwith. I assumed that I was locked out of my site by the hacker.

I have now summoned the assistance of a grown up (this will cost me a good dinner at the very least) and we are now back with tails wagging.

Missed you.

More soon.

81,050 Stray Dogs Handled by Local Authorities in 2016

lost-dog The 2016 Dogs Trust survey of local authority dog wardens and environmental health officers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has just been published. 370 local authorities with responsibility for environmental health in Great Britain. returned 338 questionnaires by the deadline and 3 after, giving a response rate of 92%.

Local authorities were responsible for seizing 78% of strays. 17% were handed in by the general public, figures that have remained stable over recent years. the remaining 5% were handed in by the police (1%), under the Dangerous Dogs Act (1%), picked up by other means (3%) or already in local authority kennels on 1st April 2015 (1%). Transfers from vets, the RSPCA, dog wardens, and other agencies each accounted for fewer than 1% of reported strays.

This represents 81,050 stray dogs handled by local authorities in the last year. Although this is a decrease of 21% on the previous year when 102,516 dogs were handled by local authorities, there is no cause for celebration.

Just 29% (16,447) dogs were microchipped. 64% of these dogs face being destroyed by local authorities because their owners have not updated their contact details which, as of April 2016, has been illegal. Just 478 microchipping enforcement notices had been served between April 6th 2016 and the survey deadline of July 31st, 2016. 51% were due to the stray dogs being unchipped and 49% were due to the chip having incorrect details stored. 43,767 of the 81,050 stray dogs were reunited with their owners, with more than 9,000 reunifications due to a correctly registered microchip. ID disks accounted for 1,161 reunions and a combination of the two for 768 reunions. 7,341 dogs were reunited due to the owner contacting the local authority or pound directly. 662 dogs were reunited due to already being known to the dog warden. The numbers of stray dogs chipped with a foreign microchip has remained globally stable, although numbers vary across authorities. 18% did not require kennelling.

170 of the 292 local authorities offered a microchipping service, with 41% of those making it free of charge to the owner using Dogs Trust chips, 6% offering it free at a cost to the council and 20% requiring the owner to pay. Many authorities used a mixture, such as allowing free chipping in some cases but requiring the owner to pay in others.

3,463 stray dogs were destroyed by local authorities leaving 37,283 dogs unclaimed in council kennels. The reported number of stray dogs that were re-homed by local authorities across the UK fell from 8,465 in 2015 to 6,143 this year. However, this accounts for the same proportion that were re-homed by local authorities as last year (9%) due to the decrease in the estimated total number of strays. Just under a quarter (22%) of the strays handled were passed on to welfare organisations or dog kennels after the statutory period of kennelling. This proportion remains the same as last year and is in line with estimates over the last 10 years. A small proportion of dogs were kept or retained by finders, were dead when found or died in kennels.

216 (70%) of local authorities employ a dog warden directly whereas 76 authorities (25%) contract the service out.
206 (72%) authorities house strays in private boarding kennels, 28 (9%) use a council-owned pound and 82 (27%) use charity kennels. The remaining 20 authorities said that they used an alternative option for handling their strays. 293 (95%) of authorities run dog warden services during working hours Monday to Friday and 101 during working hours on Saturdays and Sundays. 141 (46%) work on-call out of working hours Monday to Friday and 147 authorities operated an on-call service out of hours on weekends, with 50% of all LAs reporting offering an out-of-hours service at any time. This is broadly consistent with finding from previous years.

14,519 (19%) of all strays reported as being handled by local authorities were regarded as being so-called “status dogs” and tended to be bull breeds, Rottweilers, Akitas or crosses of these breeds, representing a reduction of 21% on 2015. of those, 738 (5%) were euthanised due to aggressive behaviour. This proportion has been declining gradually from a reported 8% in 2013-14 to 6% in 2014-15.

These figures are simply disgraceful. Any improvements do not disguise the fact that far too many dogs are straying or being dumped. So much for the “nation of dog lovers”.

Run Into The Ground

exhausted dog It beggars belief that, as temperatures and humidity have soared over the last few days over much of England and Wales, people are still forcing dogs to go running.

Owners may think that the dog enjoys it and is getting wonderful exercise, although many of them wouldn’t even notice if their dog turned belly up as they are too far ahead and too busy being preoccupied with the muzak pumping into their ears and the digits ticking by on their exercise monitors. The attitude seems to be to combine two chores into one. They have no interaction with their dogs and – more importantly for other people – no control over them either.

Dogs that are forced to run often appear aggressive to other dogs as they have no choice but to rush past in order not to be left behind. They have no options to stop and sniff or even eliminate – the most important part of any walk. Of course, if they are desperate and do stop, the owner won’t pick up because they are blissfully ignorant and uncaring. Fearful dogs hang back caught between the Scylla of the dog that frightens them and the Charybdis of their owner’s oblivious back disappearing into the distance until they eventually make a panicked dash for it. Owners may pamper their own sore muscles afterwards but don’t even consider that their dog is suffering too.

Even sled dogs that are bred to run would not be worked in the spring, summer or early autumn when temperatures are simply too high for them to be able to cool down efficiently. They are also not running on hard, hot urban surfaces which jar joints and stress muscles, not to mention inhaling deeply of the toxic cocktail of pollutants.

If you get masochistic pleasure out of running in hot weather, don’t inflict it on your poor dog and don’t shave him to within an inch of his life so that he has no protection against the elements just because you can’t be bothered to look after his coat.