CORNWALL Council has received a special honour from the RSPCA to mark the 15th year of the prestigious PawPrints awards.

The charity held an awards ceremony at the Malmaison Hotel in Leeds on Wednesday, November 8, to celebrate the many public bodies delivering exceptional animal welfare services. 

One of those was the Cornwall Council which has won a Gold award for its Stray Dog Services for six consecutive years.

Awardees were joined by Chris Sherwood, chief executive of the RSPCA, Cllr Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council executive member for climate, energy, environment and green space, and Cllr John Tudor, support executive member and on the Scrutiny Board for Environment, Housing and Communities for Leeds City Council.

In total, 92 awards were handed out to public sector bodies and to mark its 15th year, 36 special Platinum awards were also given to those who have received Gold standard PawPrints for five or more years consecutively.

Running since 2008, the RSPCA’s flagship PawPrints awards remain the only scheme of its kind, recognising local authorities and public bodies for going above and beyond to deliver world-class animal welfare services. 

Lee Gingell, public affairs manager for local government at the RSPCA, said: “We wanted to do something really special for those who have received awards year after year for their commitment to animal welfare. There were a whopping 36 public bodies who have won gold for the last five years or more which is an incredible achievement.

“The awards recognise local authorities, housing providers and contingency planners who all play a key role in delivering animal welfare especially in the face of steep challenges. A lot of this work goes on behind the scenes and so the idea of the PawPrints awards is to shine a spotlight on those going the extra mile for animals, recognising and celebrating all their efforts.

“The awards ceremony was a great success showcasing how important partnership working is to improving animal welfare, and this is a key part of our forward looking strategy Together For Animal Welfare. The event was also an opportunity to highlight the unsung heroes of local Government and network with public bodies across England and Wales.”

The awards are split into five categories: stray dog services, housing, contingency planning, animal activity licensing, and kenneling. Each category has three levels: bronze, silver and gold - with each carrying progressively more challenging criteria. 

Chris Sherwood, chief executive at the RSPCA, said: “As a nation of animal lovers, we know that animal welfare is very important to the public and we’ve seen that reflected in the dedication and commitment of the PawPrint awardees for the last 15 years.

"Local government plays a vital role in improving animal welfare which is why we’re so pleased to work in partnership with these organisations, and why I was thrilled to attend the awards this year and celebrate their remarkable achievements for animals.”