The RSPCA has launched its annual awards scheme in honour of local authorities and housing providers across England and Wales that have gone beyond the call of duty in providing outstanding levels of animal welfare.
Scores of entries are expected into this year’s RSPCA Community Animal Welfare Footprints scheme following its huge success in its first year when more than 60 footprints were earned.
The Community Animal Welfare Footprints 2009 looks like being bigger and better than ever thanks to the official support of both the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and the Trading Standards Institute (TSI).
The scheme recognises organisations that have gone above and beyond their basic service requirements to ensure higher welfare standards. There are four categories – the stray dogs footprint, the housing footprint, the contingency planning footprint and the animal welfare footprint – with gold, silver and bronze tiers to mark different levels of achievement. The prestigious Innovator in Animal Welfare Awards will also given to those organisations that have pioneered new methods or achieved outstanding results.
Piers Claughton, RSPCA Senior Local Government Advisor, said: “The RSPCA is confident the Community Animal Welfare Footprints and Innovator Awards will become established as a recognised seal of approval for those local authorities and housing providers pioneering new methods of tackling animal welfare issues.”
The closing date for the 2009 RSPCA Community Animal Welfare Footprints scheme is 17 July. Entry forms can be downloaded from www.rspca.org.uk/cawf. Hard copies can be obtained by calling 0300 123 0166 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To help demonstrate some of the outstanding work already being done by local authorities and housing providers, the RSPCA has published the Community Animal Welfare Footprints Guide To Good Practice. This booklet contains practical advice from the winners of last year’s Footprint awards and aims to help other service providers that are now developing their own animal welfare policies.
“One of the main aims of the awards scheme has always been to give public service providers the chance to promote the good work they do and share their experiences to help others ensure higher welfare standards.
“The Guide To Good Practice does just that and we hope it will encourage more organisations to develop their animal welfare policies even further,” added Piers.
Among those sharing their experiences in the new guide are the winners of last year’s Innovator Awards – Somerset County Council, Fylde Borough Council and Cardiff County Council.
Somerset County Council was crowned last year’s winner of the County and Unitary Council Innovator Award in recognition of the free advice clinics for farmers it pioneered in partnership with local livestock markets. The authority was praised by the judges for creating a template for other councils that will help proactively reduce the need for enforcement action involving farm animals.
The 2008 English District and Borough Council Innovator Award went to Fylde Borough Council, in Lancashire. The authority joined forces with Myerscough College, near Preston, to deliver intensive training courses on understanding canine aggression and for pet shop inspectors. These courses have since been attended by local authority officers from across the rest of the UK.
Cardiff Council and Cardiff Dogs Home scooped the title of Wales Unitary Authority Innovator last year after judges said they provided a model of good practice for any city to use in tackling the issue of stray dogs. The council-operated dogs home formed a partnership with a canine charity to provide free neutering for 468 dogs and a free microchip for more than 800 in a single year.
Those entering this year’s Community Animal Welfare Footprints will again be judged by an independent panel, with the results to be announced in September. Those authorities that meet the requirements of an individual footprint will receive a certificate commemorating their achievement and will be able to use the RSPCA Community Animal Welfare Footprints logo – in gold, silver or bronze – on council publications and website for a 12-month period.
The Guide To Good Practice is also available from www.rspca.org.uk/cawf or by calling 0300 123 0166 where more details about the RSPCA Community Animal Welfare Footprints scheme is available.