CALLS have been made for more to be done to help dogs at recent illegal traveller encampments in the area
Warwick District Council has confirmed some dogs had been abandoned at sites after the travellers moved on. There have been a number of encampments at sites in Leamington, Stratford and Warwick since December.
Social media pages have been launched by a group called ‘Save Warwick Dogs’ which has created a petition calling on animal welfare charity RSPCA to scan the animals for microchips. It has so far received nearly 3,000 signatures in just over two weeks.
But the RSPCA says it has been to check on the site, and while welfare conditions were not ‘ideal’ no laws were breached.
A spokeswoman also told the Observer it was the responsibility of Warwick District Council to check the dogs for microchips – which each dog was required to have by law and must include an owner’s contact details.
A council spokeswoman said: “Three dogs were scanned on Friday January 18. The dogs weren’t microchipped – so therefore the council was unable to pursue with the normal process as the travellers move about and by the time the 21 days are up – which is the legal time given to get the chip updated – they will have moved on. The dogs are believed to belong to the travellers.
“There have been no further requests from police for our dog warden to accompany them for further visits at the current time.”
Police say they have been checking a current encampment at Tachbook Park in Leamington daily.
A spokesman told the Observer if any ‘blatant’ animal welfare laws were being broken officers would contact RSPCA inspectors.
In a joint statement Warwickshire Police and the district council said: “The issue of dogs around the traveller encampments in both Warwick and Stratford has been widely reported locally.
“The RSPCA have been involved on several occasions visiting and investigating the wellbeing of animals on both sites. There were no instances where animals have been seized that we are aware of. We can confirm that several dogs were abandoned after the group left Warwick Racecourse.
“Clearly there is deep concern from the public about the conditions in which some of these dogs are being kept. This is understandable, however legally there were no incidents of neglect identified by the RSPCA who the police are guided by in these instances.”
A spokeswoman for Save Warwick Dogs even said she had even bought two dogs off the travellers to care for them – paying £100 and £150.
A spokeswoman for the group told the Observer: “I felt forced to buy puppies while the travellers were on the car park at Stratford Leisure Centre just after Christmas. I had to do emergency fund-raising online to raise the money. They had mange, fleas and worms. One is still ill.
“Since then I’ve been going back to check on the dogs at the site, while it’s been so cold they’ve been keeping warm by huddling together under the caravans.
“The puppies at the sites are running about, some are in cages and they all seem hungry.”
Several traveller groups had been contacted for comment but had not responded at the time of going to press.