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5th Jul, 2022

No evidence of dog neglect at traveller camp

NO evidence of mistreatment has been found of dogs at a traveller camp in Stratford say police.

Residents had taken to social media with concerns about the welfare of dogs seen around the encampment in the Stratford Leisure Centre car park.

The travellers took over half the car park in mid-December. Although they left for a few days they returned on Friday December 28.

Police have accompanied RSPCA inspectors to traveller sites in Warwick and Stratford three times over the past week following the concerns.

A Warwickshire Police spokesman said officers relied on the expertise of the RSPCA to decide whether any action was needed.

But the RSPCA said while conditions were not ‘ideal’ there were no legal grounds for the dogs to be seized, and instead ‘strict advice’ was given to owners and a return visit arranged.

Residents in Warwick also raised animal welfare concerns when travellers were recently camped on Warwick Racecourse.

Insp Simon Ryan added: “We are also aware that there have been comments on social media about dead dogs on the Warwick site and in the canal near Warwick.

“I can confirm that at this time we have had no reports made directly to Warwickshire Police and have not made any such discoveries on our visits to both sites. If members of the public have information then please contact us so we can investigate.

“Police take concerns of animal neglect extremely seriously and will always work with the RSPCA to establish whether any criminal offences have taken place.”

The RSPCA also responded to tweets from residents demanding something more be done.

A spokesperson said: “No injured dogs were found. We understand your frustrations and don’t condone how they’re being kept – we wouldn’t keep our own dogs like this but we can only act when there’s evidence of the law being broken.”

Stratford District Council is seeking a court order to evict the travellers from the site and said the process had been delayed due to seasonal operating hours.

The Observer contacted national traveller equality campaign organisation Friends Families and Travellers for a comment, but had not received a response at the time of going to press.

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