Cornwall Council’s dog welfare and enforcement team has been awarded a Stray Dogs Gold Footprint award by the RSPCA for the seventh consecutive year.

The RSPCA works with local authorities, the police and housing associations to help them deliver animal welfare services, and the awards scheme recognises organisations that work tirelessly to ensure high welfare standards for animals in the services they provide.

The Cornwall Council team were recognised for their regular proactive work to educate owners about responsible pet ownership, preventative measures to reduce straying such as providing an out-of-hours service and offering a micro-chipping service.

Each year Cornwall Council’s dog welfare and enforcement officers deal with dog welfare issues, noise complaints in relation to dog barking and dog fouling complaints. It also deals with around 1,000 stray dogs and works with a number of re-homing charities to rehome around 100 unclaimed stray dogs each year.

For the seventh year there has been a reduction in the number of stray dogs reported to the council. This is in part due to the hard work put in by officers promoting responsible dog ownership and the council’s microchipping campaign.

Cornwall Council community protection manager, Lynn Carter, said: “A stray dog is at risk of injury or causing injury to other animals as well as causing a nuisance. Our dog welfare and enforcement team routinely deal with dogs straying in public areas, and will pick up any unaccompanied dog.

"It is vital that dog owners are responsible for their dogs and keep them under proper control as well making sure they have a collar/ID and microchip – which as well as being a legal requirement, also means they can be reunited more quickly if they do escape.

"Any dog that is dealt with as a stray incurs expense to the owner including a release fee and kennelling charge as well as an additional charge if your dog is found out of hours – all of which must be paid before any dog is released.

"Having your dog tagged and micro chipped means you can be reunited as quickly as possible and minimises charges. I am delighted that the hard work that the officers carry out has been recognised for the seventh year in a row."

In April 2016 it became a legal requirement that all dogs are micro-chipped. The council offers a micro-chipping service for dogs. If you would like to arrange for your dog to be microchipped, call 0300 1234 212.

Stray dogs can be reported to the council on 0300 1234 212. The council also publishes a list of stray dogs on its website to help owners be reunited with their dogs.