Published: Tuesday, 21st December 2021

We are offering advice to residents who are considering buying a dog this Christmas.

Our award-winning animal wardens team, which regularly picks up strays, is encouraging residents who are thinking about buying a dog this Christmas to consider the long-term commitment which is needed to properly look after a pet.

Earlier this year the team were awarded the RSCPA Gold PawPrints Award for the seventh year in a row. The awards recognise and celebrate the council’s continued work with stray dogs.

Between April 2021 to date, the animal wardens team reunited 36 dogs with their rightful owners and 13 were rehomed to a new family. In the previous year, from April 2020 until March 2021, the team reunited 41 dogs and rehomed 21. The team also offers advice throughout the year to owners to help keep their pets safe and healthy. They have their own Facebook page where they post pictures of strays, which are shared by members of the public. The team would like to thank everyone who shares their posts and to the dog foster carers which help look after pets until they find their forever homes.

Residents are also being encouraged to think about where they are buying a dog from. If you are looking for a new pet, why not rehome a dog from a rescue centre and give it a loving home? If you are looking to buy a puppy from a breeder be wary of illegal puppy farms and make sure you see the mum and her pups together. In April 2020 the Government introduced Lucy’s Law, which aims to tackle puppies and kittens being bred in poor conditions in England. The law also means that anyone looking to buy a puppy or kitten must buy directly from a licensed breeder or consider buying one from a rescue centre. Licenced dog breeders are required to tell buyers where puppies, or kittens, were born and businesses without a licence may receive an unlimited fine or be sent to prison.

Top tips if you are considering buying a dog:

  • Consider rehoming a dog from a rescue centre.
  • If buying a puppy, purchase one from a reputable breeder.
  • Ask to see the puppy with its mother and the rest of the litter. Be suspicious if your request is refused.
  • If the seller lives, or the puppy was born, outside of the UK the dog must have passport or vet certificate. The documentation has to confirm that the puppy was vaccinated against rabies at the correct age and document the veterinary practice where this was carried out. If in doubt, contact a vet. 
  • Never allow a dog to be delivered to your home address or meet the seller to collect the animal in a car park.
  • Never pay for the puppy in advance. 

A pet needs long-term commitment

Cllr Gary Hackwell, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder covering Animal Wardens, said: “Our animal wardens work tirelessly all year round to reunite, or rehome, stray dogs. Owning a pet is a huge responsibility and we are encouraging residents to think carefully about whether they will be able to provide the long-term commitment a pet needs. If you are considering getting a dog, we would encourage you to adopt a dog from a reputable rehoming centre.”

Find out more information about the stray dogs team, report a stray, or search Medway Council stray dog service on Facebook for more.

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