June 14, 2017

The RSPCA has today announced the winners of special PawPrint Awards for local authorities, housing providers and public service organisations who have gone above and beyond for animals over the last decade.

The RSPCA PawPrints Awards recognise and celebrate public service organisations that go above and beyond to ensure high animal welfare standards in their communities such as pioneering initiatives to see more stray dogs safely into kennels, schemes to safeguard pets whose owners have been taken into care and housing policies that allow tenants to share their home with their pets.

The gold, silver and bronze PawPrints Awards awards* are for  four ‘Footprint’ categories, to recognise achievements in Stray Dog Services, Contingency Planning, Housing Policy and Animal Activity Licensing.

This year we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of RSPCA PawPrints also awarding a Diamond award to Northamptonshire County Council, London Borough of Wandsworth, Ashfield District Council and London Borough of Newham for a ten-year run of gold awards and a number of Platinum awards to those who have won continuous gold awards for five years.

Rachel Williams, senior parliamentary advisor for the RSPCA, said: “This is an extremely special year for us as we mark the tenth anniversary of the Awards and we have been so impressed with the standard of entries to both the PawPrints awards, and the special awards.

“It’s always so rewarding to celebrate the winners and their inspiring initiatives and hear just what a huge impact their work has had on animal welfare locally, but this year is particularly special because we are also celebrating  the outstanding work that’s gone on during the last ten years. The PawPrints awards are something the RSPCA is immensely proud of.

“The organisations who have shown us year on year just how much hard work goes on behind the scenes to improve animal welfare locally really do deserve to be celebrated, and often their pioneering ideas have changed the lives of not only animals but local people too.”

Two new awards have also been introduced this year, The ‘Innovator of the Decade’ award, open to all previous Innovator Award winners, and chosen by external expert judges, and a brand new ‘Individual Special Recognition’ award. These awards have been given to public sector staff members, nominated by RSPCA staff in recognition of their substantial impact on animal welfare in their area. This is alongside the annual Innovator in Animal Welfare, given to schemes that are improving animal welfare in genuinely new and exciting ways.

The charity received a number of outstanding entries, with the prestigious Individual Special Recognition Awards going to Mark Berry and Robert Quest of the National Companion Animal Focus Group, Vicki Bannon, Animal Warden at City of Westminster Council, Debra Sandling, Animal Control Enforcement Officer at Three Rivers District Council, and Ian Blake, Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer at Slough Borough Council.

Winners of the Innovator and Innovator of the Decade Awards will be announced at a special ceremony in November, which will bring together all of this year’s winners including special guest Lord Gardiner.

Rachel added: “The RSPCA’s PawPrints are the only awards that recognise the hard work of local authorities, social housing providers and public sector bodies across England and Wales, to improve animal welfare. The fact that we are marking ten years of the scheme shows just how successful they have been. It has been a pleasure to watch the scheme grow over the years and celebrate countless initiatives from the most dedicated public service organisations and their staff.

“It is no secret that these awards are a major achievement for any organisation or local authority and I look forward to celebrating with the winners on the awards ceremony evening in November.”

The awards are again supported by the Local Government Association, along with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health.

The presentation of the awards will take place on 27 November at RICS, Parliament Square.