FIFTY public bodies recognised for 'unsung' animal welfare work

FIFTY public bodies recognised for 'unsung' animal welfare work

RSPCA award 'PawPrints' has recognised 50 public bodies for services helping animals.

The RSPCA has praised public bodies across England and Wales, as it hands out 70 awards to 50 organisations going "above and beyond" for animal welfare - offering a "lifeline" for many animals amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Local authorities, housing providers and contingency planners across England and Wales have been praised for the services they deliver for animals; and celebrated through the RSPCA's prestigious PawPrints recognition scheme.

The scheme - first established in 2008 - is now entering its 15th year; and splits awards into five categories:

  1. Stray dog services
  2. Housing
  3. Contingency planning
  4. Animal activity licensing
  5. Kenneling

The scheme aims to recognise bodies delivering services beyond statutory minimums. Fifty-three of the awards handed out this year are to the gold standard - the highest level of recognition for service provision.

Criteria for the gold PawPrints awards include proactive work to encourage responsible pet ownership, discounted microchips for pets in the social housing sector and partnerships with local animal welfare charities - all steps likely to be crucial in helping pet owners through the cost of living crisis.

Winners include Cardiff Council's Cardiff Dogs Home - who have partnered with 'The Rescue Hotel' charity to recently build a new health centre providing low-cost vaccinations, flea and worm treatments, neutering procedures and dental care for dogs. This year, the local authority has been recognised for their stray dog, kennelling and contingency planning services.

Cardiff Council cabinet member with responsibility for Cardiff Dogs Home, Cllr Dan De'Ath, said:

All the dogs we look after deserve the highest possible standard of care and we're delighted that work we're doing in partnership with our charity partners The Rescue Hotel has been recognised with these PawPrints awards.

Owning a dog isn't cheap, and as the cost of living crisis deepens, the preventative work we do is becoming increasingly important. Ultimately we want all Cardiff's dogs to live in homes where they're well cared for and loved. Helping reduce the cost of owning a dog by providing essential veterinary services at more affordable prices means we can help keep more dogs and their owners together.

Croydon Council is another of the 50 winners - recognised for their regular proactive work to encourage responsible pet ownership. In partnership with the RSPCA and the Police, Croydon Council has held regular events on a range of issues, particularly microchipping and neutering, offering health, well-being, and training advice to pet owners. This year, Croydon Council has been awarded the Stray Dog Services PawPrints at gold level.

PawPrints is the only award scheme across England and Wales to recognise and celebrate good practice which drives forward higher animal welfare standards. The scheme has the support of the Local Government Association, the Welsh Local Government Association and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, among others.

Amid the challenging economic climate, the RSPCA is "thrilled" with the level of engagement with the scheme. Fifty-seven of the accolades have gone to 42 organisations in England, with a further 13 gongs handed out in Wales to eight organisations.

Lee Gingell, the RSPCA's public affairs manager for local government, said:

Despite the difficult climate, we're absolutely over the moon to see 50 public bodies across England and Wales picking up PawPrint awards this year.

It's a tough time for many pet owners, as the cost of living crisis continues to bite - so we know many of the schemes and procedures that PawPrints recognises will be more important than ever. We're thrilled to see such high engagement with the scheme yet again.

From programmes to encourage responsible pet ownership, to discounted microchipping and policies to protect animals during emergency situations, there's so much great work that goes on behind the scenes from public bodies - and, in this climate, these services are so often a lifeline for pets and their owners.

Too often, this work is unsung and doesn¿t get the credit it deserves. PawPrints is all about shouting from the rooftops - that 50 public bodies, across England and Wales, are going above and beyond for animals; looking way past statutory minimums because it's the right thing to do - for humans and animals.

Find out more about the PawPrints awards

Find out more information on the PawPrints awards as well as the full list of winners for England and Wales:

PawPrints award winners.