THE work done across Test Valley to end animal cruelty and protect animals from abuse has been recognised.

National charity the RSPCA has awarded Test Valley Borough Council a Gold Stray Dog Footprint, for five years running.

As a result of this, and the fact that the RSPCA PawPrints awards are now in their tenth year, a special Platinum Stray Dogs Footprint has also been awarded to the authority.

The awards are given for bravery, outstanding service and to recognise exceptional contributions to animal welfare.

A Gold award is the highest category achievable.

Rod Mason, animal welfare officer at Test Valley Borough Council, said: “I know that everyone is thrilled with this achievement, and I’m pleased that our hard work has been recognised by the RSPCA.

“What this shows, having won a Gold Stray Dog Footprint for five years in a row, is that we haven’t stopped trying to improve our welfare services for animals. For us, this is just the latest step, rather than our end goal.”

The national awards were first set up by the charity in 2008 and celebrate great animal welfare work from local authorities and other organisations, such as housing providers.

Cllr Phil Bundy, housing and environmental health portfolio holder, said: “It’s wonderful to be recognised for all the effort we put in to continue our high standards of animal welfare across Test Valley.

“It’s important for us to continue our work and make sure we are in the same place next year. From everyone at Test Valley Borough Council, a huge thank you to the RSPCA.”

The PawPrints winners reception and tenth anniversary celebration is to be held on November 27 at Parliament Square, London.