Responsible for rescuing and caring for lost dogs across the borough, Croydon Council’s dog warden, Tara Boswell, has once again received the stray dog PawPrint gold award.
Introduced by the RSPCA in 2008, the programme sets high standards for animal welfare, with recipients needing to meet criteria way above the minimum legal requirement for a local authority.
Tara has worked for the council for 13 years and helps on average over 150 dogs each year.
Tara finds rescue spaces, foster and forever homes for the stray dogs Croydon collects, and has developed a network of contacts including kennels and a vet, which means stray and sick animals receive the best possible care.
Working with a number of charities, she finds places for any that are unclaimed, and provides access to further supports, helping to reduce the number of stray dogs in the borough.
Throughout spring and summer, Tara delivered in-person dog events in local parks, engaging tons of residents (including furry ones) to point them to resources and offer free microchipping and professional advice.
Consistently leading the way, last year Tara was one of only four in the country to receive the highest possible recognition from the RSPCA – a special accolade for her work helping rescue dogs during the pandemic.
Tara Boswell said: “I really value the work I do with stray dogs, and it’s such an honour to be recognised four years in a row. There has been an increase in strays in Croydon since we’ve emerged from the pandemic. We have also noticed more pregnant dogs coming in, as the demand for puppies has gone down following the lockdown boom.
“If you’re struggling financially to care for your dog, there are charities you can access to get support. Releasing a dog as a stray is never the answer. Surrender your dog to a reputable rescue, please do not give it away online.”
Photo: a litter of puppies Tara rescued this year from a pregnant stray in Croydon
Tara’s own mum has actually adopted a stray from Croydon in 2015, and Mia is currently living a happy life today at 7 years old.
There have been lots of issues since the cost of living increases, and there are supports available to dog owners that are struggling financially. These include: a vet care scheme via the RSPCA, and behavioural advice from local experts, available for free at the council’s spring/summer dog events.
Most vets offer payment schemes which can really help with the cost of bills – it’s important to remember that the expense of owning a dog can often be higher than people expect, so please do research before adopting.
For free microchipping, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
“We are so proud of Tara for her years of commitment to dogs in Croydon, and for all of her outstanding work despite the challenges of the pandemic. She continues to be a shining example of the dedication our staff has for the borough, and I want to congratulate her for a job well done.”
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon