The RSPCA has praised Medway Council for its work with stray dogs for the third year in a row.
The charity’s Gold Footprint recognises the council’s procedure for dealing with stray dogs, success in reuniting lost dogs with their owners and finding loving homes for abandoned dogs.
The award also recognised the treatment and welfare of the pooches when in the council’s care.
The council’s community wardens have organised a number of free mircochipping events for pet owners and run a dedicated stray dogs Facebook page which has helped dogs get reunited with their owners, fostered, or rehomed more quickly.
Last year the council picked up around 650 stray dogs, of those 374 were reunited with their owners and 268 were rehomed.
It also launched a dog fostering scheme to help reduce the number of unwanted pets and introduced dog control orders to encourage owners to keep dogs on leads to reduce the risk of straying and causing a nuisance.
Rachel Williams, senior parliamentary advisor for the RSPCA said: “The Footprints are the only awards that recognise the hard work of local authorities, social housing providers and public sector bodies, so it is great to be able to recognise and reward the hard work that organisations do to improve animal welfare.”
Cllr Rupert Turpin, Medway Council’s head of community wardens, said: “We are delighted to have received this award for a third year in a row. It reflects the hard work and compassion of the community wardens who work tirelessly to reunite stray dogs with their owners and rehome abandoned pets.”
Chatham MP Tracey Crouch, said: “As a strong champion for animal welfare issues, both in parliament and locally in Chatham and Aylesford, I was delighted to hear that Medway Council and Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council are both contributing to the improvement of animal welfare here in Kent and I look forward to continuing to support them in doing so in the future.”
In May a community warden found a stray Staffordshire bull terrier in Gillingham Park, suffering from a severe skin condition and completely deaf.
The dog’s details were posted on the council’s Facebook page in a bid to find its owner, but no-one came forward.
A woman from Faversham called Mary saw the post and, concerned nobody would come forward to rehome the pooch volunteered to foster her.
She was nursed back to health and after forming a bond, the fosterer chose to adopt Nola.
Mary said: “The council provided all the help and support to get Nola back to health, and to help me look after her. She’s settled in well and has proved to be a delightful friendly dog, despite having been badly treated previously.
“I’m so glad I’ve been able to give her a forever home.”
Russel Songhurst, senior community warden at Medway Council, said: “It is pleasing to see that our stray dogs Facebook page has reached people further than Medway. Thanks to Mary, Nola now has a loving home."
Medway Council is holding a free fun dog show on Saturday, at Riverside Country Park, Lower Rainham Road, Gillingham, between 10am to 3pm. Categories include waggiest tail, prettiest bitch, best rescue and dog the judge would most like to take home.