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Charter for the Welfare of Animals

Statement of Intent

In developing this animal welfare charter the council considers that all animals entitled to enjoy five basic freedoms.

  • Freedom from fear and distress,

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst,

  • Freedom from pain, disease and injury,

  • Freedom to express their normal behaviour, and

  • Freedom from physical discomfort.

The council therefore believes that it has particular responsibility relating to the welfare of all captive and domestic animals and wild animals in so far as its activates impinge upon their lives and well being.

The council will concentrate its efforts in the following areas.

  • Use its enforcement powers fairly and firmly in animal welfare matters,

  • Exercise influence through policy decisions in matters involving animal welfare

  • Educate and advise residents and visitors on animal welfare issues

  • Provide up-to-date advice on animal welfare matters to individuals and organisations, and

  • Seek to influence persons whose decisions or activities have an impact on animal welfare issues.

The council will amend and update this animal welfare charter from time to time to reflect changes in the national legislation and local circumstances.

Key Areas

The council will exercise its legal enforcement powers in relation to the following subject areas.

Domestic Dogs

To control and protect dogs in the community, the council will fully utilise its dog warden service. It will encourage responsibility ownership and control of dogs thereby promoting reductions in the number of stray dogs and resultant problems such as fouling and traffic hazards.

Transport Of Live Animals

Large numbers of animals are transported from farms, poultry rearing establishments, and other similar locations, to markets, slaughterhouses and ports. Dudley Council will take appropriate action with regard to the laws which control these activities to ensure that the animals are properly watered, are not overcrowded, are fit to travel and travel in vehicles which are suitable for such use, encouraging those in charge of animals during transportation to be appropriately trained and knowledgeable of each species. To achieve these objects, the Council will as necessary act in liaison with other local authorities, relevant government departments and duly authorised enforcement agencies, in relation to animals being transported within the area.

Zoos

The council will continue to encourage a progressive policy in relation to all species domiciled in zoos, with a view to providing the most appropriate conditions and management in accordance with contemporary legislation and debate regards the welfare of captive species. In particular, management bodies will be encouraged to develop the robust educational and conservationist policies.

Pet Shop

The council has statutory responsibility to license pet shops under the Pet Animals Act 1951. Applicants for licenses must comply with a set of standard license conditions. Licensed Officers will vigorously enforce conditions when a animal's health or welfare is at risk or being compromised. Pet shop proprietors may, if appropriate, be asked questions relating to the sources of their stock.

On occasions of licensing inspections and subsequent visits, the opportunity will be taken to pass on to pet shop proprietors information about relevant animal welfare developments and evolving practice, and to promote the city and guilds certificate in Pet Shop Management or its equivalent.

Dangerous Animals

The council will enforce rigorously the dangerous wild animals act 1976. Please see our Exotic, Dangerous and Wild Animals Licence for further information.

Exotic Animals

The council will ensure that its relevant officers are aware, trained and knowledgeable in the farming or keeping of exotic animals for food, (e.g. wild boar, ostrich, buffalo).

Dog Breeding Establishments

The council has a statutory responsibility to enforce conditions in premises where dogs are bred under the Breeding Of Dogs Act 1973 and will pursue a policy of rigorous enforcement.

Dog and Cat Boarding Establishments

The council's officers will work to ensure that high standards in accordance with the law apply in all relevant establishments.

Horse Riding Establishments

The council's officers will work to ensure that Horse Riding Establishments comply with licensed conditions. The council will also seek to limit the keeping of horses where there is inadequate provision for grazing and will encourage the provision off-road riding and exercise areas away from vehicles to limit risk to horses, riders and members of the general public.

Tethering Of Horses And Ponies

The council will enforce the Protection Against Cruel Tethering Act 1988 and will not allow the tethering of horses and ponies over protracted periods and/or without access to water, adequate grazing and/or shelter, on land owned or managed by the council.

Animal Diseases

The council will have in place contingency plans with regards to notifiable diseases, (e.g. foot and mouth, anthrax, swine vesicular disease, rabies,) which will limit the spread of the diseases and the subsequent danger of suffering in relation to otherwise healthy animals. The council will ensure that staff are trained in emergency procedures and ready to respond instantly and effectively.

Wildlife

The council will enforce legislation in respect of habitats and protected species. The council will continue to support measures aimed at conversation of wildlife through the establishments of local nature reserves, trails and conversation areas within the borough. The council will promote excellence in management, will monitor all such facilities, and involve local communities and schools in conversation projects.

The council opposes the indiscriminate destruction of animal habitats. This will be a factor borne in mind where considering planning consents. Developers will be required to mitigate where damage is unavoidable. Management of the council parks, gardens, and open spaces will, where possible give priority to ecological considerations. Uncontrolled public access will be denied in relation to the most sensitive areas or habitats if necessary and/or possible.

General Policy

The Council will not allow on any Council-owned or managed land rodeos, circuses or travelling menageries which include performing animals, and will use its statutory powers to prevent performing animal acts in theatres, wherever possible.

The Council will not allow the following practices at show-jumping and eventing held on Council -owned or managed land:

  • Competitions where obstacles are unreasonably difficult,

  • The use of training or riding methods which cause distress or suffering,

  • The use of drugs to alter the performance of a horse or to enable it to compete.

The Council will not allow the giving of live animals as prizes at funfairs on Council-owned or managed land. The Council is opposed to hunting fox, deer, or hare with dogs, on land owned or administered by the Council. The Council is opposed to the unnecessary use of agrochemicals and pesticides and in furtherance of this policy the council will:

  • ensure that Council horticultural staff use methods of weed control which are not harmful to wildlife, and whenever practicable weeds will be controlled by the use of alternative methods rather than chemicals. If chemicals must be used, they will be of a type which will have minimum effect on the environment and will be on the governments "approved list" published under the pesticide regulations 1986;

  • ensure that where practicable and desirable, hedgerows and roadside banks under Council control will be managed to conserve, enhance and create safe habitats for birds and animals especially during the breeding season, whilst additionally encouraging the growth of wild flowers.

The Council is opposed to the use of snares and other traps which cause suffering to animals. It will therefore tolerate "live" traps only when certain conditions are adhered to. Licences relating to Council-owned or managed land will include a clause reflecting this, particularly specifying the need for traps to be under the control of skilled persons adhering strictly to legislative controls.

The Council will expect and encourage those who fish in Council-controlled waters or from Council-controlled land to adopt the following code of practice based on the Medway Report.

  • The use of double and treble hooks should be avoided especially when the intention is to return the fish alive to the water.

  • Fish having swallowed hooks and those intended for food should be killed humanely before attempts are made to unhook them.

  • Fish which are to be killed following capture should be dispatched as quickly as possible. Anglers should know how to kill a fish humanely.

  • To assist in removing hooks all anglers should possess suitable "disgorgers" appropriate to the size and species of the fish they are likely to catch.

  • The use of barbless hooks is strongly recommended in the interests of causing less injury to the mouths of fish and, being easier to remove, reducing the amount of handling required.

  • If keep nets are used, fish should confined for the shortest possible time to reduce the risk of injury. Great care should be taken when handling fish to minimise damage to the thin protective layers of skin and mucus covering the scales. Damage to these layers will increase the chances of infection and reduce the ability of fish to survive.

  • Prolonged playing of fish, especially those destined to be returned to the water and the use of ultra fine tackle which necessitates such playing, should be avoided.

  • In the view of dangers posed to wildlife and other animals by discarding fishing tackle, anglers should take the greatest care to ensure that all such equipment and litter is disposed of safely and responsibly.

  • The use of non-lead fishing weights is considering both necessary and essential in modern angling should be used at all times.

Angling clubs fishing in council-controlled waters or from council controlled land will be encouraged to arrange for younger members to receive guidance from qualified instructors concerning the biology of fish and there relationships with other animals, in order to help reduce of inconsiderate behaviour towards them.

The council, as an Education Authority, will:

  • Encourage the management of school grounds as ecological resources,

  • Encourage the use of video and computer simulations for teaching animal anatomy and physiology in schools, as opposed to more traditional methods.

  • Explain to school children the law in relation to protected and non-protected species as outlined in section 25 on the wildlife and countryside act 1981, the wild mammals (protection) Act 1996 and the convention on international trade in endangered species, as well as other relevant or future legislation as appropriate from time to time.

  • Encourage the study of animals, their welfare, conservation, and the responsible ownership of pets. Each school will e encouraged to have an animal welfare policy of its own.

  • The Council's Dog Warden Service will, as resources allow, develop an advisory and educative role including promotional campaigns on good pet ownership, talks to voluntary groups and schools, and the provision of display and information stands at suitable venues.

If you wish to discuss any specific aspects of the Charter you may wish to contact one us using the details below.

Useful Links

External Links

Contact Details

  • Name Environmental Safety and Health
  • Address People Directorate, 3-5 St James's Road, Dudley, DY1 1HZ
  • Telephone 0300 555 2345