Police save £300,000 on kennelling dangerous dogs
West Midlands Police have saved more than £300,000 on kennelling costs for 'dangerous dogs' in the past five years, it has been announced.
Speaking at a recent Strategic Policing and Crime Board meeting, Chief Inspector Gareth Mason revealed that the number of dogs seized by the force last year was more than half the figure from 2014-15, dropping from 192 to 91.
The average amount of time each dog spent in kennels has also dropped since 2015, with dogs now spending an average of 51 days in kennels, compared with the previous figure of 87.
The fall in the number of dogs seized and amount of time spent in kennels has resulted in a huge fall in costs.
In 2014-15, the force spent £461,500 on kennel and vet bills, while in 2015-16 this rose to £621,600.
However, following the fall in seizures and time spent in kennels, the estimated cost for 2018-19 is forecast at £300,000 – a £321,000 saving on the 2015-16 figure.
One of the reasons for the fall in seizures has been the introduction of an ‘exemption policy’ for banned breeds, such as the American Pit Bull Terrier.
Under this policy, banned breeds are returned to their owners prior to court proceedings, so long as they meet a strict set of criteria including temperament of the dog, ability of the owner to look after the dog and the environment the dog is kept in.
And it is this, Chief Inspector Mason said, which has allowed the force to cut down on kennelling costs.
“Five years ago we were seizing a total of 192 dogs over the year – now it’s only 48 [so far this year],” he said.
“We’ve more than halved the number in the last 12 months alone, just by the introduction of the exemption policy.”
Speaking at last week’s meeting, Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson praised the work of the Dangerous Dog Unit in making savings for the force.
And he added that the savings have allowed him to reinvest the money into areas that the force needs.
“Since 2015-16 we have halved kennelling costs, saving £300,000 a year,” he said.
“This money has been re-invested into frontline policing.
“It is one of many small savings that I have made that has enabled me to announce plans to increase officer numbers by 200 over the next two years, despite continued real terms cuts to our funding.”