(2) what steps his Department has taken to ensure that local authorities are fulfilling their obligations to receive and collect stray dogs under the Environmental Protection Act 1990; and what sanctions his Department can impose on local authorities who fail to fulfil their obligations.
DEFRA officials have held a number of discussions with the Local Government Association, local authorities and other interested organisations about the financial impact of section 68 of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act. When commenced, section 68 will transfer responsibility for stray dogs from the police solely to local authorities.
Discussions on the transfer of funding from the police to local authorities to reflect the change in responsibility are ongoing, and a date has not yet been set for the commencement of the change. A circular clarifying responsibilities for stray dogs is due to be sent to all local authorities and police forces in the coming week.
Local councils are legally responsible for taking in stray dogs under the Environmental Protection Act. Any dogs seized by their officers or brought in by members of the public must be kept for a minimum of seven days and be provided with suitable kennelling.
There is no specific provision in the Environmental Protection Act for this Department to intervene if a local authority breaches its statutory duty in relation to stray dogs.