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Community Safety

Dogs Scrutiny Commission report published

Lambeth Council’s Dogs Scrutiny Commission has published a report with a number of recommendations, including a 24 hour stray dogs service. 

The commission “strongly” urges the council to find resources to achieve a “full out-of-hours service” among a list of further recommendations that would compliment the creation of such a service. Lambeth Council will consider how it will respond to the findings of the report at the next cabinet meeting on Monday 26 July.

The commission also urges the council to employ more animal welfare officers, introduce tougher punishment for irresponsible dog owners, increase availability of dog-chipping events, introduce mandatory dog chipping in social housing, reduce illegal breeding, and prevent the sale of pets from council properties.

The report was produced following a series of consultation exercises which saw the commission take evidence from the RSPCA, Lambeth Living tenants, Lambeth Police, Battersea Cats and Dogs Home, as well as legal professionals including the Crown Prosecution Service, lawyers and local magistrates.

The cross-party Commission of councillors was chaired by Councillor Imogen Walker who was accompanied by councillors Clare Whelan, Diana Braithwaite and (now former councillor) David Malone. Councillor Walker stated that this was not an anti-dog commission; far from aiming to discourage people from keeping dogs, committee members wanted to address the problems created by irresponsible owners while at the same time supporting the owners of well behaved and loved pets.

Councillor Rachel Heywood, Lambeth Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “This report is about providing vital support to the majority of responsible dog owners who care for their dogs and look after them properly while clamping down on those who keep dogs as status symbols to intimidate others, or worst of all, to fight. We are not against people keeping dogs as pets – far from it. We want to address the problems created by irresponsible dog owners while at the same time supporting owners of behaved and loved pets.”

The council is fully aware that the issue of status dogs is a real concern for many residents and is working hand-in-hand with a range of partners to take tough enforcement action against irresponsible dog owners and promote responsible dog ownership. A range of council services including animal welfare, the Community Safety Team, and Park Rangers, have worked throughout the year in partnership with the police to carry out a series of operations. These operations have been backed by new powers introduced by the council within the Animal Welfare Charter.

If you have concerns regarding an animal’s welfare or suspect animal cruelty contact Lambeth Animal Welfare services on 020 7926 8860 or email animalwelfare@lambeth.gov.uk. Alternatively contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999, or Lambeth Council’s anti-social behaviour reporting line on 020 7926 4000.

Scrutiny Commissions are small cross-party groups of councillors established to undertake in-depth pieces of work on particular areas of the council and its partners’ work. When they have completed their work they submit evidence-based reports with recommendations to the relevant decision-makers who are obliged to respond. Commissions are established in an ad-hoc manner by the council’s standing scrutiny and scrutiny-sub committees to investigate areas of concern to councillors and to contribute to the improvement of public services in the borough.

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