Council one of ‘best performing’ over unwanted dogs

Carrickfergus Borough Council. INCT 03-055-tc
Carrickfergus Borough Council. INCT 03-055-tc

The Carrickfergus Borough Council area remains one of the best performing local authorities in terms of its low rate of humane destructions of unwanted dogs, a report has noted.

The figure was outlined to council members at Monday night’s meeting of the Environmental Services Committee as part of the Dog Summary Statistics report for 2013.

Although 48 incidents were investigated in that year, no destruction orders were given and 46 cases were resolved without further action. The local authority pointed to efforts made by staff and by its kennel provider to re-home animals and transfer ‘hard-to-home’ dogs to charitable organisations.

The figures also cover the number of dog licences issued, as well as statistics on straying, unwanted animals, fixed penalties and prosecutions.

“The number of fixed penalties remains lower than in neighbouring councils. Officers meet with colleagues from other local authorities on a regular basis to share their knowledge and find out new approaches to addressing problems such as straying and dog fouling,” noted the report.

The number of dog licences issued also remains statistically lower than neighbouring authorities, the report added.

Three prosecutions were recorded in 2013, two of which were for no licence and one for straying.

Earlier this year, the council approved a policy which would see the use of body-worn cameras by enforcement officers, designed to improve the quality of evidence gathered through both visual and audio footage.

The scheme aims to increase the likelihood of an offender accepting a fixed penalty, and will also reduce the amount of time spent by the local authority following up on cases. It is hoped that use of the devices will also lead to reduced assaults and abuse directed at officers.