EAST Hampshire District Council’s Animal Welfare Service has collected three gongs in the UK-wide RSPCA Community Animal Welfare Footprint awards.

The team won two gold medals and one bronze for their dedication to the welfare of dogs and other animals across the district.

Gold number one was awarded for having the highest standard of stray dog service, meeting the RSPCA standards and criteria for dealing with stray dogs.

The second gold was awarded for the “extremely high standards” expected and enforced by the district council in relation to animal boarding licensing.

To achieve these two golden gongs, the team overhauled existing standards and procedures to ensure that the highest level of animal welfare provision was enforced for all pet shops, catteries, kennels, home boarders and district-wide horse-riding establishments.

The team is also dedicated to investigating illegal animal operations, such as back-yard breeders and unlicensed pet shops in East Hampshire.

Councillor Ingrid Thomas, the district council’s portfolio holder for welfare, said: “These awards recognise the determination and dedication of our animal welfare officers in constantly promoting responsible animal welfare provision within East Hampshire through a combination of education and enforcement.”

The team also achieved a bronze award for contingency planning to deal with animals in emergency situations.

Last year, the team also won gold for its work with stray dogs and another bronze for animal welfare.

A list of animal boarding establishments licensed by EHDC can be found at easthants.gov.uk and the Animal Welfare Service can be called on 01730 234304.