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Change of Kennels for Eastleigh Strays
One of her first actions has been to move Eastleigh Borough Council's stray dog kennels from Warren Avenue in Southampton to Bishops Waltham.
The Bishops Waltham kennel is marginally closer to Hedge End than the old facility in Southampton, and probably easier to get to for most people. According to Cllr Winstanley the change of service provider has been made following a best value review, and Winchester City Council use the same kennels.
The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act terminated the police's role in dealing with stray dogs, and since 2008 local councils have had the responsibility. If a missing dog is reported the same day it goes missing, it will most likely still be in holding kennels in Eastleigh and can be reclaimed from the Council's dog warden before it even gets to the Bishops Waltham kennels.
Dog Wardens Do Microchips
As the dog's owner will be charged for kenneling costs when they recover their straying pet, it makes sense to get reunited as quickly as possible. Dog wardens will scan stray dogs for microchips and try to contact the owners according to the information on the chip or on the dog's collar tag.
As dogs can escape when they are not wearing their collar, or the tag could fall off, it makes sense to have dogs microchipped, and Eastleigh Borough Council will do it for only £15 in the comfort of the dog's own home. That seems to me to be good value for money and a good council service. Although some charities will do it free, owners would have to take their pets to the charity, and vets normally charge £20-30, again at the vet's own surgery. Following a government consultation that finished on June 15th, microchipping may in any case become compulsory for dog owners.
Animals Victims of Recession
Cllr Winstanley tells me that the number of stray dogs picked up in Eastleigh is relatively low: only 109 across the whole Borough in the last year. Seventy-seven of them were reunited successfully with their owners. Of the remainder, 26 were not claimed and were rehomed through animal charities, and six were euthanised (five because of behavioural problems and one because it was considered to be a banned breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act).
It's an unfortunate consequence of the recession that people who can no longer afford their dogs are having to make the heartbreaking decision to give them up for rehoming. Rehoming charity The Blue Cross, which has an adoption centre in Bubb Lane, has seen a 28% increase in the number of animals dumped or abandoned.
Dog Fun Day
On a lighter note, the Council's annual Dog Fun Day is due to take place this year on September 8th. Hedge End Blogger has attended past fun days both as a member of the public and as a volunteer helper and can confirm that it is a thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining and informative event. Councillors and members of staff at the Borough Council give up their spare time to help run the event, which also has a serious educational purpose in encouraging responsible dog ownership.
It's a shame that Eastleigh Conservatives seem to want to cancel the event to judge by questions from Cllr
Grajewski at February's Full Council.
Lost and Found Dogs
To report a lost or found dog during office hours, call 023 8068 8329.
The evenings and weekend contact number is 01489 892760