Friday, 1 February 2008

Today it is 'A' for Animal Welfare.

Animal welfare is a big area and covers many things from basic pet care, through cruelty, neglect, abandonment, rescue dogs, working dogs, veterinary care, to vivisection.(This isn't a full list!)

There are a lot of legal, moral, ethical and emotional issues to consider.

Today I am going to talk about just 2 things, but I will return to this subject in future.

Animal Welfare Act 2006

This act was enacted in 2007.

A duty of care is placed on owners.

Owners are now responsible for ensuring that their animal’s welfare needs are met.

These include :
Somewhere suitable to live
A proper diet
Must be able to behave normally
Must be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
Nobody under 16 years can buy an animal
Animals cannot be given as prizes to unaccompanied children
Anybody who is cruel to an animal, or does not provide for its welfare needs,
can be banned from owning animals, fined up to £20,000 and/or sent to prison.

At one time all that was required was that an animal have access to food and water, so bad owners were getting away with cruelty to their animals.

Hopefully the new act will make a positive change.

It is still important that we report abuse. This could be to the RSPCA, the dog warden, an animal welfare organisation, or the police.

Stray Dogs

Stray and abandoned dogs are a huge problem.
Thousands of dogs are humanely destroyed every year because there is nowhere for them to go. When I worked in rescue, I could get 50 dogs a month from my local area of which only half would be claimed back. (The rescue charity I worked for was also a sanctuary, so dogs were only destoyed if the law required ,or on veterinary advice.)

At the moment strays are dealt with by the local authority dog wardens during office hours Mon-Fri, and by 24-hour manned police stations outside of these hours.

But things are going to get worse.

As from 6th April this year the police will no longer have a duty to accept stray dogs. So what happens in the evening, night and all of the weekend?

Your local rescue may be able to do something, but they have no legal powers and cannot enter private property. If they do not work within the law they could be closed down.
They do not receive any goverment money.(The RSPCA are in a different position, but they still have limited powers).
They are probably overstretched with little money. You will find that staff at rescues are dedicated, caring and hard-working, but they do have families and homes to go to.

The relevant act is Section 68 of the Clean Neighborhoods and Environment Act 2005.
Local authorities are the only bodies with a duty to deal with strays.

You can find more information on either topic by visiting the DEFRA website.

If you have time it's worth writing to your local MP or your local council. They will reply.
I've written many letters when I've been in campaigning mood, and have always had a response.

I'm in danger of going into 'rant' mode, so I am going to finish now.

Next time I will write on a dog health issue : Arthritis. My female greyhound suffers from it....she's the white dog in my picture.

Buy for now and talk to you again soon. Ti

Talk to you all again soon.

No comments: