Facebook saves the day for stray dogs in Medway

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Medway Matters

Facebook has come to the rescue of lost dogs in Medway.

Since a committed community warden at Medway Council set up a stray dogs Facebook page, 100 per cent of dogs picked up by the team have been reunited with their owners, rehomed or fostered.

This comes just two weeks after the warden service was temporarily suspended due to the kennels in Upchurch being full.

It was at this point that Senior Community Warden Russel Songhurst set up the Medway Council Stray Dog Service Facebook page to combat the problem.

He said: “It’s been quite remarkable how much of a difference the Facebook page has made in a fortnight. It’s a good tool as it is immediate and the news of the dogs we’ve found spreads rapidly.

“I’m pleased to say all the dogs we have picked up in the past two weeks are now either back home, in a foster home or with loving new owners, and we currently have no stray dogs needing rehoming, which is unprecedented.

“A real positive that’s come from this is an increase in people rehoming Staffordshire Bull Terriers – they’ve been given a bad reputation, but they can be very friendly and are just as deserving of a loving home as any other breed.”

Russel posts photos of the dogs found on the social media account together with details of where and when they were picked up.

The Facebook page now has more than 370 likes, nearly 690 people have shared at least one of the page posts and almost 35,000 people have been reached as a result – according to Facebook insights.

Dogs picked by council wardens spend seven days in the care of the council at Jasmil Kennels in Upchurch, and if the owner is not found or doesn’t come forward to claim their dog, the kennels then become responsible for the pet and will try and find it a loving home.

If a new home or dog foster carer can’t be found, sometimes dogs are sadly put to sleep as a last measure.

Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder in charge of community officers Cllr Rupert Turpin said: “This is a good example of someone going above and beyond the call of duty because they really care about their job – congratulations to Russel for his hard work which has clearly paid off.

“While we have seen lots of dogs rehomed recently, more dogs would be reunited with their owners more quickly if they had micro-chips. Medway Council offers a free at-home micro-chipping service and as of 2016 anyone who does not have their dog micro-chipped will be breaking the law.”

Visit the Medway Council Stray Dog Service Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mcstraydogs

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