A stray dog service, which covers Ellesmere Port and Neston, has gained another gold award.

The council has scored top marks when it comes to animal welfare for the fifth year running.

It scooped an RSPCA gold animal welfare award for going above and beyond basic legal requirements in the way it handles stray dogs.

The awards promote and reward good practice by local authorities in certain fields of animal welfare.

The national animal charity recognised the ‘hard work and dedication’ of regulatory services staff at the council involved in the collection and re-homing of stray dogs and the fact that the service had clear procedures and education programmes in place.

Part of this involves education and awareness-raising including the council’s approach to dealing with anti-social behaviour such as owners failing to clean up after their dog.

Ellesmere Port Whitby ward councillor Karen Shore (Lab), the council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “It is a real achievement to secure this award for the fifth year running.

“Dog owners can really help our regulatory services team by ensuring that their pets are kept safe, are tagged and micro-chipped and by picking up after them.

“By getting your dog tagged and micro-chipped it means you can be reunited as quickly as possible if they go astray.”

From April 2016 it became a legal requirement for all dogs in England to be micro-chipped.

Anyone needing to report a stray dog can use the following telephone numbers:

Telephone: 0300 123 7038 (option 1) 8am - 7pm, Monday to Friday

Outside of these hours including weekends and bank holidays call 0300 123 7035.