The dog warden's primary function is to apprehend and deal with matters relating to stray, lost and found dogs.
Stray dogs which are seized or collected are kenneled for a minimum of seven days during which time the dog may be reclaimed by the owner on payment of a release fee of £35 plus kenneling fees and any veterinary fees.
After this seven day period the dog may be sold, re-homed or destroyed.
In practice, very few dogs are destroyed although in some circumstances the animal’s health or temperament may be such that it not considered suitable for re-homing.
Officers of the service enforce a number of Dog Control Orders made under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (see below for details). A number of prosecutions are taken each year against irresponsible dog owners who allow their dogs to foul public areas or otherwise contravene the orders.
Dog control orders
The Council has introduced a number of Dog Control Orders. These orders were made on 16 August 2012 and come into force on 1 October 2012.
The Dog Control Orders replace the previous system of byelaws and other orders for the control of dogs and designations needed under the Dog (Fouling of Land) Act 1996, which have been repealed.
Penalties for non-compliance with the Dog Control Orders is a fixed penalty notice of £75 payable within 14 days (£50 if paid within 7 days).
A person guilty of an offence is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding £1000.
Environmental Services has responsibility for a range of animal welfare matters such as the inspection of licensed boarding kennels, pet shops, dangerous wild animals, zoos and riding establishments.
The council promotes responsible dog ownership and the service works with partners such as RSPCA, Dogs Trust, schools and town and parish councils to further this.