Running since 2008, the RSPCA’s flagship PawPrints awards remains the only scheme of its kind, recognising local authorities and public bodies for going above and beyond to deliver world-class animal welfare services.

This year across Wales and England a total of 73 public bodies have received a PawPrint award – with ten from Wales winning a mighty 11 gold awards.

Local authorities and public sector organisations taking home awards include:

  • Caerphilly County Borough Council Trading Standards
  • Cardiff Council
  • Cardiff Dogs Home
  • Hope Rescue
  • Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association
  • Merthyr Valley Home
  • Newport City Council
  • Monmouthshire County Council
  • Vale of Glamorgan
  • Wrexham County Borough Council

Between them they took home a total of 11 gold awards, one silver award and two bronze awards*.

Sioned Nikolic, public affairs advisor at RSPCA Cymru, said: “The PawPrints awards are something the RSPCA is immensely proud of. We have been so impressed with the standard of entries to this year’s awards from Wales. It’s always so rewarding to celebrate the winners and their inspiring initiatives and hear just what a huge impact their work has had on animal welfare locally.

“We are also thrilled to be back up to our pre-pandemic figures and – across the whole of Wales and England – have been able to hand out a total of 93 awards across 73 public bodies for outstanding animal welfare achievements this year*.

“It is also fantastic to see 14 awards specifically in Wales handed out – with 11 of these being gold.

“Local authorities, housing providers, contingency planners and others play a huge role in the delivery of animal welfare; many of them doing incredible work in the face of steep challenges.

“Often this pioneering work is done quietly behind the scenes and remains unsung, but they really deserve to be applauded for changing the lives of not only animals, but local people too. PawPrints is all about recognising and celebrating these efforts.”

Over the past 15 years, over 1,500 awards have been given through the RSPCA PawPrint Awards, recognising and celebrating public service organisations that go above and beyond to ensure high animal welfare standards in their communities. These can include anything from initiatives to see more stray dogs safely into kennels, schemes to safeguard pets whose owners have been taken into care and housing policies that allow tenants to share their home with their pets.

The awards are split into five categories: stray dog services, housing, contingency planning, animal activity licensing, and kenneling. Each category has three levels: bronze, silver and gold – with each carrying progressively more challenging criteria.

There are also two special awards; the ‘Special Recognition’ and ‘Innovator’ awards. The Innovator in Animal Welfare award looks for inspirational and pioneering entries that demonstrate how an animal welfare issue has been tackled in an innovative and imaginative way, and the Special Recognition award recognises individuals or organisations who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and dedication to animal welfare over the last year.

The RSPCA’s PawPrints are the only awards that recognise the hard work of local authorities, social housing providers and public sector bodies across England and Wales, to improve animal welfare.

Sioned added: “Our partnerships with local authorities and other public sector organisations are integral to reclaiming our place as the global leader in animal welfare. Together, we can create a world where all animals are respected and treated with kindness and compassion.

“The awards also provide an invaluable chance to inspire others to think about their animal welfare services and encourage decision-makers to consider and value the vital role local authorities play in protecting animal welfare. In tough financial times, this is more important than ever. We are keen to work with all public bodies aspiring to meet the criteria for an award next year.

“The fact that we are marking 15 years of the scheme shows just how successful the awards have been. It has been a pleasure to watch PawPrints grow over the years and to celebrate countless initiatives from the most dedicated public service organisations and their staff; and the work we do together for animal welfare.”

The awardees will be recognised at a special ceremony in Leeds in November this year.