From the RSPCA We are renewing our calls for the introduction of a dog licence to help tackle the rising problem of abandoned dogs. Between January and April 2010 we received more than 3,500 calls from members of the public about dumped dogs. A total of 4,966 dogs have already been abandoned. New figures show that we are now receiving a call about an abandoned dog every hour. Throughout 2009, in the grip of the credit crunch, we took 11,574 calls about abandoned dogs and we are worried that this year could hold a similar fate for even more animals. Benefits of a dog licencing scheme We are working with other animal welfare groups and relevant authorities to develop the first government-backed approach to manage the most pressing problems associated with dog ownership. The introduction of a dog licence could tackle a wide range of dog welfare problems which stem from the lack of traceable ownership. The funding from a licence scheme could be ploughed into tackling key issues including: abandonments anti-social dog behaviour such as dog attacks the risks to human health from dog-related diseases irresponsible dog breeding deliberate cruelty to dogs. Criminal offence Under the Animal Welfare Act, those found guilty of abandoning an animal could face a fine of up to £20,000 and/or six months in prison. Our head of external affairs, David Bowles, said: Every year, we sadly see thousands of dogs heartlessly abandoned throughout England and Wales. The RSPCA and various organisations work tirelessly to help the poor animals who are cast aside in such a wreckless manner. But we believe that a dog licencing scheme could provide a solution to this ongoing problem and help make sure that people who do dump their dogs dont get away with this criminal offence. We hope that an effective licencing scheme providing traceable ownership could help to track down the people who are committing a criminal offence by abandoning an animal. Public support Earlier this year, we revealed strong public support for the reintroduction of a dog licence. In a TNS poll, 76 per cent of people asked said that a dog licence should be enforced in England to help curb problems such as animal abandonments*. The survey also found that 2 out of 3 (66 per cent) of the dog owners asked would be in favour of a licence scheme. We have submitted these results in response to the consultation on dangerous dog legislation recently conducted by the UK government. Your support We rely entirely on your generous donations. Please donate online today so we can continue to improve the lives of animals. The TNS poll The TNS poll commissioned by the RSPCA asked 1,017 adults between the ages of 16-64 in Great Britain in February 2010. The poll asked 334 dog owners and 683 non-dog owners for their views. *76% of the total people asked and 66% of dog owners asked are in favour of the reintroduction of a dog licence. A total of 771 people asked were in favour of a licence, 145 people asked were against it and 101 people asked did not know.