Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Environment Select Committee Minutes

Date:
Monday, 19th January, 2009
Time:
2.00pm
Place:
Lecture Hall, Stockton Central Library, The Square, Stockton-on-Tees. TS18 1TU
 
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Present:
Mrs Maureen Rigg (Chair), Cllr Dick Cains, Cllr Colin Leckonby, Cllr Roy Rix, Cllr Michael Smith, Cllr Bill Woodhead
Officers:
Mike Batty, Mark Berry (DNS), Graham Birtle and Mrs Tanya Harrison (LD)
In Attendance:
Chief Inspector Gent (RSPCA)
Apologies for absence:
Cllr Andrew Larkin, Cllr Mick Stoker and Cllr Mick Womphrey
Item Description Decision
Public
ENV
33/08
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
 
ENV
34/08
MINUTES OF 22ND SEPTEMBER 2008, TO BE SIGNED BY THE CHAIR
 
ENV
35/08
DRAFT MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 24TH NOVEMBER 2008
CONCLUDED that the minutes of the meeting held on 24th November 2008 be agreed and forwarded to Council for consideration.
ENV
36/08
REVIEW OF DOG FOULING
CONCLUDED that the report be noted.
ENV
37/08
WORK PROGRAMME
CONCLUDED that:

1. Members will formulate recommendations in relation to the review on Animal Welfare and Dog Fouling at the next meeting.

2. Monitoring reports on Cemeteries and Wastes Management will be presented at the next meeting.
2.00 - 3.30pm

Preamble

ItemPreamble
ENV
33/08
Councillor Cains declared a personal non prejudicial interest in the animal welfare and dog fouling item due to the fact that he had been a magistrate.
ENV
34/08
The minutes were signed by the Chairman.
ENV
35/08
Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting held on 24th November 2008.
ENV
36/08
Members were provided with information from Chief Inspector Gent (RSPCA). Members were advised that the RSPCA had been set up 100 years ago and had always run on public donations. The RSPCA's remit was mainly animal welfare, however as it had grown they now undertook scientific research as part of animal welfare.

Animal Welfare legislation had remained unchanged since 1911 (The Protection of Animals Act 1911) until the implementation of the Animal Welfare Act in April 2007 which created a new welfare offence (Section 9).

The changes to the act enabled officers to intercede prior to actual suffering of animals unlike previously when suffering had to occur before formal action could be taken.

Since the introduction of the new act there had been an increase in animal welfare cases. It could take 7 - 8 months for cases to be heard in court during which time the R.S.P.C.A were responsible for the board of the animals.

Members were advised that domestic cruelty complaints were the usual reports received.

Chief Inspector Gent advised that the quality of service differed between Councils. Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council was the only Council which had an animal welfare service. In certain cases the Council and R.S.P.C.A worked side by side.

Chief Inspector Gent advised that if there were adequate staff within Councils and the R.S.P.C.A the animal welfare problem would be significantly reduced. The Chief Inspector advised that he would like to see:

- Compulsory dog Licensing
- Registration fees for an animal
- Compulsory micro chipping for dogs
- Controlled breeding of animals

Chief Inspector Gent thanked Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council for the services it provided as they were among the best in the North East.

Members discussed animal welfare at allotments.

Members discussed the sentencing guidelines which bound magistrates. If people considered that sentences passed out by magistrates were too harsh they could go to a Crown court which could result in the original ruling being overturned.

Chief Inspector Gent advised that barking dogs were not classed as a high priority therefore it would be the Council's Noise Team/Animal Welfare Department who members of the public should contact. However, if the issues surrounding the animal went deeper than just repeated barking then the R.S.P.C.A would consider it a higher priority.

Members advised that Animal Welfare deal with barking dogs promptly.
ENV
37/08
The Chair informed Members that at the next meeting they would formulate recommendations in relation to the review on Animal Welfare and Dog Fouling.

Monitoring reports on Cemeteries and Wastes Management would be presented at the next meeting.

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