A survey the for the National Canine Defence League (NCDL) found that an estimated 106,000 stray dogs were taken in by the UK's 436 local authorities during the year 1996/97, an increase of 13% over 1995/96. Nearly two-thirds were returned to their owners or rehomed but it is estimated that 17,000 dogs had to be destroyed.
There were large regional variations with London reporting only one stray per 2000 people but Northern Ireland reporting a figure 20 times as great with 1 stray per 100 people. Despite a general reluctance to destroy dogs this was sometimes seen as a necessary evil. There were also regional differences in the number of dogs destroyed with Northern Ireland and Northeast England accounting for nearly half.
Four in five of all strays were seized by local authorities and a further one in ten were brought in by the general public.
Nearly half of the strays brought in were reclaimed during the seven-day statutory kennelling period or were returned directly to their owner without kennelling. One in ten were rehomed by the local authority and the remaining quarter were passed to welfare organisations or dog kennels for possible rehoming after the seven day statutory period. Strays in the Southern, London and South West regions were most likely to be returned to their owners.
It is estimated that stray dogs cost tax-payers 16311.5 million per annum.
Many respondents stated that the top priority for improving the situation was public education in responsible dog ownership.
MORI interviewed 267 local authorities from 15th June to 30th July 1997.Audience: Mainly (62%) Environmental Health Officers, Dog Wardens, Animal Welfare Officers etc.