In common with other with Local Authorities in Scotland, Dundee City Council has experienced problems in the past with large numbers of stray dogs roaming around our streets.
We were fortunate in that we had a facility to house these strays and re-home them where possible.
In the early 80s, the situation had become so bad that the Council took the decision to appoint 2 Dog Wardens as authorised officers under the Dogs Act 1906, assuming responsibility from the police for the collection of stray dogs.
This step was immediately successful, with large numbers of stray dogs being rounded up by the wardens and impounded in the Brown Street Kennels.
Though there were some 40 runs available, as a consequence of this new initiative, kennel space was at a premium, leading to many healthy dogs having to be destroyed. Statistics show that in 1988, a staggering 966 of 2314 dogs which entered the kennels were destroyed, an average of 4 dogs per working day, or 42% of all dogs impounded.
In an effort to further improve the situation, in 1989 a spaying programme was introduced in an effort to reduce the numbers of unwanted litters being produced. All bitches rehomed from the kennels were spayed free of charge and as a result of its success, the scheme quickly extended to include those repeat breeders in the local community which were identified by the dog wardens. To show how effective the initiative had been, 10 years after it had started, of the 900 dogs impounded, only 69 were destroyed, 7.5% of those impounded.
This trend has continued and in 2007, only 13 dogs were destroyed from an intake of 383. These were deemed unable to be rehomed through age or temperament.
Throughout this success, Brown Street Kennels has been the cornerstone of these policies which have focused on both the care of stray and abandoned dogs as well as the promotion of responsible ownership.
The New Brown Street Kennels
Whilst preparing to undertake a little cosmetic work in the kennels in 2007, major structural faults were identified with the consequence that the kennels had to be demolished. This was a demanding time for the staff and the dogs, but the service continued unabated albeit at a temporary location.
Despite a difficult financial climate, civic leaders recognised the pivotal role the kennels had played in promoting responsible dog ownership in the city and backed by healthy local support, a total rebuild was undertaken at a cost of £250,000.
This undertaking has shown that Dundee City Council remains totally steadfast in tackling the problem of stray, abandoned and unwanted dogs in the community and again has proven its commitment to continue to take the lead on all dog related issues in the local area.
Since the official opening of the new kennels, we have launched the "Friends of Brown Street Kennels" scheme which is designed to encourage the public to take an interest in the wellbeing of the dogs which rely on the Councils care. In all of this process, the Council would wish to offer both recognition and gratitude to the charity group Help for Abandoned Animals who have long provided support for the dogs in our care.
Let us also not forget the staff that has cared for the dogs over the years. Such is their dedication that is not uncommon for them, having identified a young or vulnerable dog, to take them to their own homes overnight and at weekends to give them some one to one care.