Dog shelter - legal requirements
By law Councils and the Police must provide a facility for holding dogs found straying in their area.
Our Stray Dog Facility is at Bandeath near Throsk, and is a partnership between Stirling Council, Clackmannanshire Council, Falkirk Council and Central Scotland Police, which is managed by Stirling Council.
Typically 600-700 stray dogs pass through the shelter every year. Of these dogs approximately half are re-claimed by their owners, usually within a day or so.
While we are entitled in law to dispose of stray dogs not collected within 7 days, it is not our policy to do so.
Unclaimed dogs are offered for sale for re-homing.
The dogs which can not be re-homed (approximately a fifth of the unclaimed dogs) are passed free of charge to various animal charities.
We have a non-destruction policy, dogs are only destroyed on veterinary advice for reasons of welfare or safety, this is typically in single figures in any year.
Re homing/sale of dogs:
We always try to find good homes for our unclaimed dogs.
Available dogs can be viewed at the kennels or browsed via our website at http://www.stirling.gov.uk/dog-shelter.
To reduce the stress for the dog and to be sure of compatibility with potential new owners, we do not sell dogs on the first visit. Normally at least 3 familiarisation visits on separate days are required.
The dog purchase price includes full veterinary examination and initial vaccination for the main dog diseases, and free pet insurance for 4 weeks.
The kennels are located within 3 adapted industrial buildings and provide all of the basic welfare needs of the dogs. As a temporary holding facility it is fit for purpose.
The shelter is run and overseen by a team of dedicated staff, which includes Kennel Keepers, Dog Wardens and Vets and supported by regular volunteers who help walk the dogs.
Staff feed and check the dogs daily including, at weekends, mornings and an evening check. This happens every day – including Christmas and New Year.
Our staff often have to deal with members of the public who can be abusive. We have a zero tolerance of abuse of our staff and any individual doing so is reported to the Police and/or prevented from making further visits. All visitors are recorded on CCTV.
The dogs are provided with a healthy diet of complete dog food. On veterinary advice, some dogs are given a special diet.
The kennels are heated by thermostatically controlled electric fan heaters which ensure the recommended temperature is maintained. In the winter months, daily checks are made using max/min thermometers to ensure the temperature is satisfactory at all times and a record of this is kept.
Waste water is not allowed to accumulate. Each kennel has a waste water drain and there are strip gulleys in the corridor floors. Three years ago our drains blocked when a dog toy found its way into the outlet pipe. We now only use bigger toys and the problem hasn't recurred since.
Plastic beds and blankets on raised sleeping areas are available for most of the dogs, except in circumstances where a dog risks injuring themselves on the bed or suffocation or choking on the blanket.
Kennel staff can not always walk or spend time with all of the dogs every day but we are very fortunate to have a committed group of volunteers who are invaluable in helping to make the dogs stay with us less stressful by walking and playing with them, and sometimes by just spending time sitting with certain dogs individually to help socialise them with people.
While many of the dogs are only with us for a day, longer stay dogs usually get a walk at least once a day.
The kennels are cleaned on an ongoing basis and at least daily. They are spot cleaned or hosed out if particularly messy.
To avoid wet floors, we actively try to minimise the use of water but we can never fully eliminate it if we are to maintain clean disease free kennels.
Unlike family pets or dogs received at commercial kennels, we have no vaccination records for our dogs so we must take strict precautions against the possible spread of disease. The smooth concrete and tile construction, ongoing cleaning, maintaining an airflow and ensuring a cool temperature are all part of this.
As we are in a rural location we get the occasional rodent visitor. Our Pest Control Officers are on site several times a week and quickly treat for any early signs well before it becomes a problem.
The dogs are cared for by a team of 7 vets who visit at least twice a week and more often if necessary. Also our staff will often take dogs directly to the vet for treatment. Any treatment necessary to relieve suffering is always provided regardless of the cost.
Condition of the dogs:
It is common for us to receive dogs in very poor condition.
Some will have been neglected, malnourished, abused or may have been the victim of an accident or attack. Some dogs are in a filthy condition having been on the loose for some time. We also receive very old dogs with all of the signs of their age such as poor condition, blindness, arthritis etc.
Sometimes our visitors see these dogs and assume that we are not looking after them properly.
All dogs receive veterinary care according to their needs but it may take many weeks before a neglected or ill dog begins to show signs of recovery.
Also, for dirty and neglected dogs, it can sometimes be several days before enough trust is built up before it can be washed, for reasons of both staff safety and minimising stress for the dog.
In the last few years we, along with generous donations from the public, have carried out ongoing improvements to the facility. Recent examples are:-
- new hot shower facility for dogs with skin complaints;
- new outside runs;
- new 3 acre activity area/dog walk;
- new indoor activity area for rainy days;
- new grooming/veterinary examination table.
The SSPCA have an open invitation to visit the kennels unannounced at any time and we always take on board any recommendations for improvement which they may make.