pasted image 0 (1)RSPCA Cymru is “delighted” with how public bodies continued to prioritise animal welfare amid the Covid-19 pandemic – as the charity gives out 11 awards in Wales as part of its prestigious PawPrints scheme.

The charity has announced those public bodies recognised for going above and beyond statutory minimums in how they promote welfare – including in their approaches to dealing with stray dogs and planning for local emergencies.

PawPrints – formerly known as the Community Animal Welfare Footprints (CAWF) – was first established in 2008; and recognises service provision which is “too often not celebrated”.

Awards are divided into five PawPrint categories, awarded to bronze, silver or gold standard. They recognise the achievements of public service organisations for their stray dog services, contingency planning, housing policy, animal activity licensing and kennelled dog welfare.

Special recognition awards have also been awarded in 2021 – with a particular focus on how services were maintained or developed in the face of the pandemic and challenging coronavirus-related restrictions.

Across England and Wales, 73 awards have been given out – including 11 in Wales.

Cardiff Council’s Cardiff Dogs Home, Newport City Council and Shared Regulatory Services (SRS) have all picked up gold awards for their stray dog provision.

Monmouthshire Council (gold) and Cardiff Council (bronze) are recognised for the way they consider animals in emergency planning; while SRS also have secured a silver award for licensing.

There’s also awards for Cardiff Council (silver), SRS (bronze) and Hope Rescue (bronze) with regards to kennelled dog welfare. Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association (silver) are also recognised in the housing category.

Billie-Jade Thomas, RSPCA Cymru’s public affairs adviser, said: “It’s been such a difficult 18 months – and the Covid-19 pandemic has put so much pressure on public bodies.

“Amid such a challenging backdrop, RSPCA Cymru are delighted to see organisations continuing to find a way to prioritise animal welfare – often despite staff shortages, challenging budgets and having to adapt to Covid-19 restrictions.

“It’s all such a heartening reminder that even in the most challenging times, so many of our public bodies still want to do the right thing for animals. We are over the moon to hand out 11 awards in Wales – recognising the amazing stray dog services, contingency planning and approaches to kenneling, licensing and housing that have continued throughout these most unprecedented times.”

Four special recognition awards have also been awarded in 2021 across England and Wales – including to Cardiff Council’s Cardiff Dogs Home, and their associated charity The Rescue Hotel.

Cardiff’s special recognition accolade followed the recent opening of a purpose-built open a purpose-built veterinary facility on site both for dogs in their care and the wider community; providing affordable neutering, dentals, vaccinations and flea/worm treatment.

Billie added: “We are also delighted to give special recognition to both Cardiff Dogs Home and their associated charity, The Rescue Hotel. They have done incredible work to recently open a purpose-built veterinary facility on site both for dogs in their care and the wider community; providing affordable neutering, dentals, vaccinations and flea/worm treatment.”

Cardiff Council’s cabinet member for clean streets, recycling and environment, Councillor Michael Michael, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Cardiff Dogs Home and The Rescue Hotel Charity, huge congratulations and thank you to all teams involved in making this happen.

“The Dogs Home team genuinely love and care about the dogs they look after, and these awards are testament to their high standards.

“Cardiff Dogs Home have won at least one of these awards every year since 2008, which just demonstrates their consistent commitment to looking after every single dog in their care.

“For The Rescue Hotel to receive a special recognition award as well – after just opening in April – really is an incredible accomplishment and the teams should be very proud.”

The full list of winners is Wales is:

Special Recognition

Cardiff Council – Cardiff Dogs Home
The Rescue Hotel

Stray dogs

Gold

Cardiff Council – Cardiff Dogs Home

Stray dogs

Gold

Newport City Council

Stray dogs

Gold

Shared Regulatory Services

Contingency Planning

Gold

Monmouthshire County Council

Contingency Planning

Bronze

Cardiff Council

Housing

Silver

Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association

Licensing

Silver

Shared Regulatory Services

Kenneling

Silver

Cardiff Council – Cardiff Dogs Home

Kenneling

Bronze

Shared Regulatory Services

Kenneling

Bronze

Hope Rescue

The awards have the backing of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. They’ve also drawn support from  the Welsh Local Government Association and the Welsh Government.