Northumberland County Council’s Animal Welfare Team has received a Gold Footprint Award from the national animal charity for the 11th year in a row.
The awards recognise and celebrate public service organisations that go above and beyond to ensure high animal welfare standards in their communities.
The team were recognised for their regular proactive work to educate owners about responsible pet ownership, preventative measures to reduce straying such as providing an out-of-hours service and offering a micro-chipping service.
In 2020/21 the team dealt with 318 stray dog cases either returning the dogs to their owners or taking them to a place of safety.
Nationally the number of stray dogs collected by councils is falling and this is also the case in Northumberland. In 2019/20 the team dealt with 560 stray dog cases.
The reduction has been put down to new legislation brought in which makes it compulsory for dog owners to have their pets micro-chipped and the role of social media in helping to reunite lost dogs with their owners.
Cllr Colin Horncastle, cabinet member with responsibility for community services, said: “I’d like to congratulate the team on this excellent achievement. It has been a challenging 18 months for everyone, including those delivering important frontline services.
"To see our animal welfare team demonstrate this continued level of commitment to the service and care of animals during the pandemic is fantastic. Winning the award this year, is a huge achievement and I am delighted that the RSPCA has recognised this commitment at a national level.
“It is really important that owners continue to play their part and take the necessary steps to prevent dogs straying before accidents happen.
"I urge all dog owners, including those with working dogs, to ensure their pets are wearing ID tags, that they are microchipped and that their details are kept up to date on the microchip database."
Residents can report animal welfare issues directly to the team by visiting the council’s website www.northumberland.gov.uk