Stray dogs in North Devon and Torridge on the decline

13:08 01 October 2013

The number of stray dogs in North Devon and Torridge has fallen. Pic for illustration purposes.

The number of stray dogs in North Devon and Torridge has fallen. Pic for illustration purposes.

Archant

Figures obtained by the Gazette show the number of lost and found dogs reported to councils is falling year-on-year.

THE NUMBER of stray dogs picked up last year by North Devon and Torridge District Councils has seen a year-on-year drop since 2011.

Figures obtained by the Gazette show Torridge had a five per cent decrease in dogs reported lost or found in 2012, compared with 2011.

And North Devon Council returned similar results, with the amount of dogs reported lost or found in the same time frame dropping by eight per cent.

Up until mid August, 51 dogs had been reported lost or found in North Devon and 136 in Torridge – both figures a fall from last year’s totals of 69 and 284 respectively.

The results come after the release of the 17th annual Stray Dog Survey, conducted on behalf of the Dogs Trust, which showed the number of dogs picked up by local authorities in the West Country had decreased by 46 per cent since last year.

Claire Joselin, Dogs Trust Ilfracombe’s supporter relations officer, said: “We work very closely with the local authorities who should be commended on their efforts to encourage responsible dog ownership through neutering, micro-chipping and education in a very difficult economic climate.”

But she said some local authorities were still struggling to cope with the number of strays and are therefore forced to put some dogs to sleep.

“Any dog destroyed for want of a home is one dog too many,” she added.

“We hope to continue our work with local authorities through our extensive campaigns to help them to tackle the issue of stray dogs and ensure that the number continues to decline.”

In 2012, 13 dogs were taken to the Dogs Trust for re-homing by Torridge, and 15 by North Devon.

Councillor Phil Collins, leader Torridge, said: “No one wants to see stray dogs wandering our streets and we do our best to make sure that each dog is treated well and looked after before being returned home.

“But owners can help too – micro-chipping dogs is cheap, causes little discomfort to the animal and means that it’s so much easier and quicker to contact the rightful owner to reunite the dog with its family with the minimum of fuss and expense.”

North Devon Council’s community protection manager Amanda Palmer said: “Over the last three years, the number of stray dog cases reported to the council has dropped slightly, which is welcome news.

“Our aim is to respond to incidents as quickly as possible, so that our early involvement increases the chances of quickly reuniting the dogs with their owners. When reunited, we also use the opportunity to highlight to the owner what can be done to prevent the dog from straying again.

“We also have a good working relationship with the Dogs Trust in Ilfracombe, valuing their advice, guidance and support. We hope our shared work in the ongoing education of dog owners will contribute to a further drop in the number of strays.”

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