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Council’s pet policy aids animal welfare

A NEW policy has been drawn up to safeguard the welfare of animals in South Tyneside. The move comes after a big rise in animal-related complaints over the course of the last decade.

This is due mainly to changing social attitudes but also because of an increase in the pet population, with an estimated seven million dogs and eight million cats now kept as pets in the UK.

South Tyneside Council’s new animal health and welfare policy has been endorsed by the authority’s decision-making cabinet. It aims to ensure a uniform approach is adopted in the handling of animal health and welfare issues.

South Tyneside is one of the UK’s ‘hot spots’ for animal welfare problems. More than 1,000 complaints are received a year about stray dogs, dog fouling and barking dogs in the region.
Increased pet ownership has led to a rise in businesses operating boarding kennels, and the number of individuals breeding puppies on a commercial basis.

There are now 13 businesses in the borough licensed to operate boarding kennels, breeding kennels, pet shops and riding establishments.

The new policy also addresses issues such as dangerous dogs and animal disease outbreaks.
Coun Michael Clare, the council’s lead member for environment, housing and transport, said: ‘The importance of promoting responsible pet ownership and good animal husbandry is recognised in seeking to minimise the number of animal-related complaints.

‘The policy details the role of the environmental health service in relation to its animal health and welfare function, identifies how that role is fulfilled and the level of performance that can be expected.’