Councils Need More Funds Or Animals Could Suffer



‘Councils need more funds or animals could suffer’
29th November 2018

By Karen Pickwick

The RSPCA is warning that animals could suffer as councils are being expected to deliver more welfare work with no extra money.

Councils are legally obliged to run stray dog services, ensure pets shops and kennels are properly licensed, care for pets whose owners are in hospital and protect animals from environmental health and noise issues. More recently, they were also tasked with tackling problems with fly-grazed horses and will soon be expected to enforce even stricter conditions on an even bigger range of animal establishments – but with no extra funding.

Rachel Williams, senior parliamentary advisor at the RSPCA, said: “Councils are under increasing pressure from budget cuts, and, sadly, animal services are often the first to be affected.”

There is no sign that demand for these services is reducing and if anything councils are being asked to do more crucial animal welfare work, with no extra funding.


“We are already seeing the impact of this in the number of services being cut or outsourced, the number of previously specialist animal welfare staff being given ever wider remits and, in the most extreme cases, some local authorities abandoning aspects of animal welfare provision altogether.

“We’re concerned that councils need more funds or animals could suffer. Everyone involved, at all levels of government, must start to recognise and value the work of the hardworking staff involved in protecting animal welfare.”

An RSPCA report, Ten Ideas in 10 Years, was released on Tuesday as the charity recognised local authorities for pioneering initiatives to improve animal welfare through its PawPrints Awards.

The report features the 10 best examples of ideas that have won the charity’s Innovator in Animal Welfare Award in the 10 years since the RSPCA PawPrints awards were created.


Rachel Williams added: “The work that local authorities, housing providers, contingency planners, the police and other public sector organisations do to protect and improve animal welfare is absolutely vital and should be recognised and celebrated.

“However we feel there needs to be political will from elected representatives to stop animal welfare services from being sacrificed when budgets are tight or tightened further, and crucially, there needs to be more money, more guidance and more support from national governments to help protect animal welfare services and dedicated animal welfare staff.”

The RSPCA celebrated the anniversary of its awards last night (Tuesday) at a ceremony in London. As well as celebrating the 97 Footprint Awards that were announced back in September, two special anniversary awards were given: the Innovator of the Decade was awarded to both the London Borough of Wandsworth and the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities Civil Contingencies and Resilience Unit, and the Innovator Award was given to Forest of Dean District Council’s Street Warden team.