Animal control officers deal with most animal-related enquiries and carry out all the following tasks:
- collecting and receiving stray dogs
- recording details of lost dogs
- investigation into persistent dog fouling problems
- investigation of certain dangerous dog issues
- investigation of complaints of statutory nuisance caused by animals
- promotion of responsible dog ownership
- licensing and regulation of animal establishments
- micro-chipping of dogs
- enforcing dog control orders
The animal control team will lead on welfare related issues at premises where it has a legal duty to do so. These are agricultural premises where livestock is kept; cattle, sheep, pigs for example or licensed animal premises such as pet shops, boarding kennels and catteries.
However, we do not generally deal with welfare issues of neglect and ill-treatment other than in the circumstances stated above. Please contact the RSPCA if you are concerned about such matters.
We have received many enquiries about horse welfare in recent months where horses are either placed onto small plots of enclosed land or tethered on open land. Tethering horses are controlled by legislation but is not necessarily illegal. Further information is available on the RSPCA website and any complaints about the welfare of horses in these circumstances should be directed to them.
Residents are advised not to walk close to, approach, or attempt to touch horses they may come across while walking, as they can bite, kick, and trample walkers with a serious injury risk. If there are welfare concerns with horses are tethered please report these to the RSPCA, but do not release the tethers as the animal may then become difficult to catch and treat, or become a traffic hazard and risk its safety.
Please always put any dogs (even friendly ones) on a leash near horses and keep your distance from them, as they are very large and powerful animals that can pose a serious fall injury risk to their riders if they are thrown off when spooked. Keeping your distance helps keep your dog safe as well as horse riders, as horses are capable of causing serious injury to people and dogs while kicking out in defence.
If you do find a loose unattended dog and can secure it safely, please call us on 02085832000 Mon-Fri 9-5, and on the out of hours lines on 02085832222 for the officer on duty at the weekend. You can also take a stray dog direct to any out of hours vet for microchip scanning if you can travel there safely with the animal, and members of the public may use details on the dogs collar tag (As these are still required in public places under the Control of Dogs Order 1992) to make enquiries and establish ownership if they are comfortable doing this. If ownership cannot be proved, please call the Animal Welfare Team for assistance.
If you come across a loose dog in the borough, please do not chase or call the animal near to any roads. Use the STOP, DROP, THINK method and allow the dog to come to you if it chooses, try not to approach it directly and use slow movements, and if you are unsure don’t make an attempt to grab at it, but report the sighting to Animal Welfare Officers instead. The biggest risk to a stray dog is being pushed into traffic in a flight response, and we can minimise that risk by following this advice.