Facebark site wins RSPCA honour
A social media site dubbed Facebark which helps dog owners find their lost pets has won a national award from the RSPCA.
Middlesbrough Council's dog warden service set up a page on Facebook earlier this year where it posts pictures of dogs that have been found. It also shares photos of animals it wants to rehouse, as well as using the site to send out messages about microchipping pets.
The page - thought to be the first of its kind in the UK and dubbed Facebark by council bosses - has won one of the RSPCA's Community Animal Welfare Footprints (CAWF) Innovator Awards.
The judges praised the entry as an example of a simple but extremely effective and well-managed idea.
The page now has more than 1,400 followers with around 20,000 hits every month, and has helped to reunite and rehouse many dogs.
Councillor Julia Rostron, Middlesbrough Council's executive member for community protection, said: "The Facebook page was a truly innovative idea to help reunite lost dogs with their owners and keep the number of strays to a minimum. It's just the kind of creative thinking our dog warden service is known for, so I'm delighted the initiative has gained national recognition."
The Facebark page can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/mbrodogservice.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: "Middlesbrough Council really impressed the judges with the creation and use of a Facebook page - or Facebark as it has come to be known.
"The page aims to reunite owners with their stray dogs and find potential new owners for the many, many unwanted strays coming in to the care of the dog warden service.
"The judges praised the entry as an example of a simple, but extremely effective and well-managed idea. We hope it will go on to be a great success, directly improving the welfare of the dogs involved."