On a cold Monday morning in Cotmanhay I joined three of Erewash Borough Council’s dog wardens at a roadshow where owners could take their pets to get micro chipped, and their health checked, for free.
The council has joined forces with the PDSA animal charity to offer free dog health checks at four ‘roadshow’ events this month where dog owners can take their four-legged friends for the free check by a PDSA veterinary nurse, covering body condition and weight, teeth and gums, eyes and ears, coat condition and general fitness.
The dog wardens are on hand to offer free dog micro-chipping ahead of April 6 when it becomes compulsory for every dog in the UK to be microchipped and registered to an approved database.
When the wardens - manager Scott Cartledge, Dan Frederickson and Natasha Ward - arrived to set up there was a queue of people waiting with their pooches at the car park of the Surestart centre, on Beauvale Drive.
Scott said: “The problem often is that dogs aren’t chipped and people’s details are out-of-date. The details need to be up-to-date to comply with the new legislation.
“People in certain areas won’t travel far to get treatment for pets. We are saving time bringing it to them. We go where we get the best results, which is why we come to Cotmanhay as there is always a good turnout. We post leaflets through people’s doors the week before. If we just turned up people wouldn’t come.”
Dan, 28, who has been a warden for two-and-a-half years, said: “There is a big push on responsible ownership now. People need to be aware that their dog needs to be on a collar at all times in public places. Dog fouling is a never-ending problem. We have been to people’s houses and taken statements that have led to people being fined. We also wear plain clothes and target specific areas for two weeks.”
The wardens also do all of the home checks for dogs that are re-homed from Babbington Kennels in Awsworth.
Natasha Ward, 23, joined the team in January. She was a dog handler in the army for five years, and served in Afghanistan, but left to start a family. She explains the micro chipping process to each owner and offers advice, including that the chip may move as far as the dog’s legs as time goes on. The microchip is then inserted between the dog’s shoulder blades.
Scott added: “We want as many dogs chipped as possible before the legislation comes in. After that we will start scanning dogs.”
For owners who do not get their dog microchipped or details registered on an approved database, it will be considered as not complying with the regulations and a notice may be served. If the keeper does not microchip their dogs within 21 days of the served notice, then they will be liable to pay a fine of £500.
The roadshows, which ran in four different locations in Erewash throughout the week, also include a Cats Protection League stall, and safer neighbourhood officers.
As part of a campaign by Cats Protection East Midlands, cat owners who are on welfare benefits will be able to get their pets neutered for free at Vets4Pets, Priory Veterinary Group and Jamieson Veterinary Group in Ilkeston, until the end of April.