New Welfare Charter developed to help protect animals across the Forest
Forest of Dean District Council have created a new Animal Welfare Charter to go above and beyond in their protection of animals from unnecessary suffering and neglect, working with partners and the local community to ensure animals are cared for correctly.
Cllr Nicky Packer said:
“Our Street Warden Team at the Council do an incredible job keeping our communities safe and keeping animals across the district safe from harm.
“As a council, we know that animal welfare is an important issue for residents in the Forest of Dean. As well as setting out the obligations of owners regarding their domestic animals, which the council has a duty to enforce, the Animal Welfare Charter makes recommendations about good practice in relation to caring for domestic animals and to animal welfare generally.
“The charter will help our team of officers to successfully prosecute those guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to animals and will be reviewed regularly, both to update it in line with changes in legislation and to continually improve guidance.”
Enforcing the Animal Welfare Act 2006 isn’t a statutory requirement for councils, with the Council being one of only two local authorities in Gloucestershire to deal with investigating cases of animal neglect. Though Forest of Dean District Council’s statutory obligations are related to domestic animals (including horses), the Council supports the view that all animals have the right to live without cruelty and the Animal Welfare Charter makes it clear that those minimum standards ought to be exceeded wherever possible. The charter also contains contact details for people who wish to raise concerns about livestock welfare in the area, as this isn’t the responsibility of Forest of Dean District Council.
The Council provides a dog warden service and deals with complaints of dogs being out of control in public spaces, proactively engaging with local residents and communities on positive animal welfare messaging throughout the year. Alongside this, Forest of Dean District Council works positively with Forest of Dean Dog Rescue to ensure that dogs whose original owners do not come forward are re-homed to appropriate and responsible owners.
Where it is suspected that unnecessary harm is being caused to an animal, the Street Warden Team, working alongside the Counter Fraud Unit at Forest of Dean District Council have the powers to investigate and secure convictions as required.
Community Safety Lead, Damion Collins said:
“The Street Warden Team works hard alongside residents to ensure that animals across the Forest of Dean are cared for responsibly.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank partners such as Forest of Dean Dog Rescue for their continued efforts in finding homes for unclaimed dogs and especially for dogs that have had such poor starts in life.
“This Animal Welfare Charter makes clear our commitment to going far beyond the minimum statutory obligations and underlines how committed we are to ensuring that all animals across the district are safe from suffering.”