Take better care and more responsibility for your dogs.

3 April 2017

DOG owners throughout Newark and Sherwood are being warned to take greater care and responsibility for their pets as part of a wider national initiative.

Issues of cleaning up dog dirt, microchipping, identity tags and dog control are being highlighted by Newark and Sherwood District Council.

This is timed to coincide with National Pet Month, which runs throughout April, a celebration of our furry and not so furry favourites, with the aim of promoting better care among owners and handlers.

But while keeping a pet is a fun pastime it carries serious responsibilities and this year the charity is pointing to its top 10 tips for healthier and happier pets.

Dog owners are being warned to make sure they ‘scoop the poop’ and use the bins provided or risk being given an on-the-spot fixed penalty £75 fine for failing to clear up dog mess. Failure to pick up dog mess carries a maximum penalty of £1,000.

The importance of microchipping was emphasised earlier this year when a stray was picked up in Newark by the council’s dog warden service and, thanks to its chip, was traced back to its owners 50 miles away in east Lincolnshire.

Under the Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulation 2015 it is compulsory for all dogs over the age of eight weeks in England to be fitted with microchips. The only exemption is where a vet certifies that a dog is unfit to be microchipped.

Legislation was introduced to help cut the cost of dealing with strays. To kennel a dog for one day costs the council £58, plus the Government's statutory fee of £25. The fee increases by £8 a day if the dog is not collected – and if it is not reclaimed by its owner that cost is not recovered. With around 300 dogs collected in the district every year, it costs the council £17,400 before any money is recovered.

Microchips contain key information including the keeper’s contact details which, by law, must be kept up-to-date. Many vets offer free microchipping as do other welfare organisations. Owners of dogs without microchips face criminal prosecution and a £500 fine if they do not stay within the law. Additionally, a collar and ID tag is a legal requirement for all dogs and failure to comply carries a fine of up to £5,000.

Dog owners are also urged to check out whether their animals should be kept on leads in certain areas and are reminded that they must, by law, be under control at all times.

Council environmental health business manager Alan Batty said: “Newark and Sherwood is a beautiful part of the country but some areas of the district are being blighted by dog mess which is unsightly and a health hazard. We also have cases where owners are still failing to microchip their dogs or are letting them run loose, posing a potential threat to the safety of the wider public.”

National Pet Month’s 10 top tips for happier and healthier pets are:

• Think carefully before getting a pet and learn about its requirements
• Ensure your pet is sociable and well trained
• Provide a nutritious and well balanced diet
• Provide suitable housing and bedding
• Clean up after your pet and worm it regularly
• Protect against disease. Your vet can provide you with advice
• Prevent unwanted litters and neuter your pet when appropriate
• Groom your pet regularly
• Control your pet and ensure it is properly identified
• Take out insurance for dogs, cats, rabbits and horses to cover against unexpected veterinary fees and third party liability

Watch our video on looking after your dog! 

For more information go onto the animal welfare section on our website and the National Pet Month website.

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