Animal Welfare Team Receives National Recognition

Winchester City Council’s animal welfare officers were invited to the Mayor’s residence at Abbey House yesterday for a special ceremony. David Griffiths and May Carrington each received a Certificate of Appreciation from the National Dog Warden Association (NDWA), in recognition of their critical role in the recent rescuing of nine abandoned dogs.

The certificates were presented by Mayor Cllr Eileen Berry with Neil Burton, Chairperson of the NDWA, in front of an invited audience. Herself a professed animal-lover, Cllr Berry said that the incident had set the standard for care and professionalism in very difficult circumstances. She was pleased to know that all the dogs were recovering in their current quarters at local RSPCA centres.

Cllr Patricia Stallard, the City Council’s newly appointed Cabinet Member for Environment, Health and Wellbeing, said that people across the District and indeed the world had been touched by the plight of the dogs. Their response, in offers of cash, advice, homes and sympathy, had been remarkable. She added:

These well-wishers have been so very generous that, through their contributions to the charity Poodle Network UK, they have covered nearly £5,000 in vets’ bills. I would thank everyone who has contributed, and the Poodle Network for their quick and efficient response in administering these donations.

In her speech, Cllr Stallard also thanked the RSPCA, staff of the kennels and the four veterinary practices who gave immediate care to the dogs for the team work which has led to a happy outcome to a potentially very sad story. The vets had to spend around three hours clipping the matting and dirty fur of each dog, under sedation, in order to begin treatment: the fur itself weighed around 14kg per animal, seriously impairing the dogs’ ability to walk.
She pointed out that the media had played an important role in bringing the plight of the poodle-cross dogs to the attention of the public, and thanked journalists for doing all they could to bring about the apprehension of the owner who, as yet, remains unidentified.
David Griffiths, on receiving the award, stated that it was the worst incident that he had experienced in 24 years of animal welfare work.

May Carrington was just two weeks into her employment with the City Council – her first job in animal welfare – when the dogs were found. In the few short weeks since the dogs were rescued, sadly, May has gone on to deal with other similar cases.

Cllr Stallard was keen to point out that the work carried out by Dave and May prompted local people to see the Council as a humane and compassionate organisation. It was a feature of the organisation that all too often went unnoticed, she said, in spite of the daily support given to many vulnerable people - as well as animals - across the District.