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Pet owners urged to check insurance small print to avoid hefty dental fees

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Pet owners are being urged to check the small print on their insurance policy and avoid paying for expensive dental treatment at the vets during Pet Dental Health Month.

The average cost of pet dental treatment carried out at UK veterinary or other specialist animal dental surgeries can vary significantly, depending on the size, age and general health of your pet.

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According to pet insurer, Animal Friends, in the last 12 months, the cost of a dental extraction claim ranged from £449 to over £591.

Comparison site GoCompare is reminding dog owners in particular that not all pet insurance policies include dental cover as standard, and the level of cover for those that do can vary significantly.

GoCompare looked at 442 pet insurance policies and found that 113 or 26% – of them offered less than £2000 in cover for dental fees. 186 (42%) provided cover for accident or illness, and 244 (55%) for accident or injury only.

Hannah Isitt, pet insurance spokesperson at Go Compare said: “We’ve found that covering the cost of dental treatment isn’t the norm when it comes to taking out pet insurance and the majority of providers do not seem to cover illness caused by bad dental health either.”

“We did find 135 providers that offered £5000 or more worth of dental cover too, but the key takeaway from our findings this Pet Dental Health Month is that cover for dental treatment comes as anything but standard when it comes to insuring the health of our pets.”

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“It isn’t all bad news for pet owners but it is a cautionary tale – it means being more vigilant when it comes to checking the small print in our pet insurance policies, alongside taking precautionary steps to maintain our pet’s oral hygiene where possible too,” Hannah added.

“With this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of tips we wanted to share during Pet Dental Health Month to help pet owners keep their costs down, therefore, and more importantly keep their pets happier and healthier in the process.”

4 ways you can help prevent dental problems in your pet

Brush their teeth: Many owners are reluctant to brush their dog’s teeth, but lots of dogs enjoy the attention. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed specifically for cats and dogs.

Dental chews and toys: Some chews and toys can help prevent plaque from hardening.

Diet: Putting your pet on a ‘dental diet’ could reduce the risk of gum disease. Speak to your vet about the best diet for your pet.

Regular check-ups: Early detection of dental problems is best to prevent it worsening. Book your pet in for regular check-ups with your vet. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Hannah said: “Animals can suffer from a variety of mouth problems that require treatment – from cavities and ulcers to receding gums and bad breath. Most of the time, this treatment can be administered at home, or with minimal involvement from the vet.”

“If problems are left untreated or are more severe, however, treatment costs also have the potential to spiral into hundreds if not thousands of pounds – while the onus is on us, as responsible pet owners, to meet those costs and ultimately make sure our pet gets the attention they require.”

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“We would urge all pet owners to mark Pet Dental Health Month 2022 by checking the small print on their existing insurance policy, therefore, to make sure any existing or potential dental needs regarding their beloved animal will be covered if and when the need arises,” Hannah added.

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Llanelli

Unlicensed Llanelli dog breeder made thousands of pounds selling puppies illegally

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An illegal dog breeder from Llanelli made thousands of pounds by selling his puppies on Gumtree and Free Ads websites.

Llanelli Magistrates Court heard that unlicensed Ashleigh Price of Llwynhendy pocketed between £34k and £57k from the sales of 10 litters over a 16-month period.

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It is illegal to advertise three or more litters of puppies from the same premises within a 12-month rolling period without a dog breeding licence.

In a prosecution led by Carmarthenshire County Council, the court was told that council officers visited the premises in Parc Richard following complaints received from Citizens Advice Consumer Services in July last year that the 25-year-old had kennels in his garden and that he was illegally breeding dogs.

Checks with both websites revealed four accounts in Price’s name and two in his wife’s and that litters made up of Jack Russell’s, Labradors, Cocker Spaniels and West Highland Terriers were advertised on the sites between April 2020 and November 2021. Most of the adverts stated they were family pets.

In mitigation, Price said that he wanted to make more money due to him being on weekly benefits of £120 and that he acted alone and set up accounts in his wife’s name. He denied making £35k saying that he ‘haggled’ the price and that some of the dogs were given away to family and friends. He also said he had no record of how much the dogs were sold for.

Price was fined £500, ordered to pay £750 costs and £50 victim surcharge.

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Llanelli

£1400 fine for Llanelli pet owner after neighbours suffer horrendous smell from dog mess

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A Llanelli pet owner who repeatedly ignored requests to clear up her dog’s mess has been ordered to pay nearly £1400.

Llanelli Magistrates heard how the garden of Samantha Davies of Stryd Bennett in Llanelli was largely covered in dog mess, waste items and filth resulting in an horrendous odour and affecting neighbours nearby.

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In a prosecution brought by Carmarthenshire County Council the court was told there had been a number of complaints from neighbours in the area and several warnings given by council officers of the state of the rear garden.

In April 2021 Davies was issued with an Abatement Notice under Section 80 of the Environment Protection Act by Carmarthenshire County Council ordering her to remove the waste and clean up the area within 28 days.

Five weeks later officers attended the property and found that the garden was as bad as ever and issued a further letter to Davies reminding her of the notice requirements. When the officer returned to the property on June 17 the garden was cleaner and had less waste.

However, the council received further complaints four weeks later of around 20 to 30 bags of dog excrement stacked up against a neighbour’s fence which were releasing an horrendous odour. Officers revisited the property and also found that a large numbers of stools were covering the patio.

Officers visited the property again on September 9 and February 16 this year and found the garden was still unkempt and patio slabs were covered with faeces with some appearing to have been there for several months.

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Davies was not present in court but admitted breaching the notice twice and was fined £300 for each breach. She was ordered to pay £701 costs and £60 victim surcharge.

The notice is still active.

(Lead image: Google Maps)

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Environment

Campaign urging people to be responsible around coastal wildlife launched by RSPCA and police in Wales

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A campaign to stop people behaving irresponsibly near marine animals such as seals, dolphins and nesting birds is being rolled out in Wales.

Operation Seabird is a joint campaign between the RSPCA, all four Wales police forces – North Wales Police, South Wales Police, Gwent Police and Dyfed Powys Police – and other partner organisations such as Natural Resources Wales.

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The first action day on 14 April saw RSPCA officers patrolling areas in Colwyn Bay/Angel Bay and Abersoch with North Wales Police, and aimed to raise awareness and educate people about how vital it is not to disturb the mammals and birds of Britain’s coastal areas and to enjoy watching them from afar.

RSPCA animal rescue officer and wildlife officer Ellie West took part in the first action day with Dyfed Powys Police in Pembrokeshire.

The RSPCA say that sadly, common disturbances to wildlife include speedboats, kayaks and paddleboards deliberately getting too close to seals, dolphins and cetaceans. This often causes stress to the animals and can result in the females suffering spontaneous abortions or babies being abandoned by their mothers.

The animal charity say that other issues include dogs off leads disturbing nesting birds or seals, litter including plastic rings severely injuring seals, wild camping beach barbecues and camp fires causing significant damage on the beach, and quad bikes or 4x4s vehicles riding over nesting areas.

There have even been incidents where beachgoers have got too close to wild animals for the sake of a selfie. Users of boats and other watercraft can also cause severe injury to some marine mammals if they collide with them while trying to watch them.

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Sergeant Matthew Langley of Dyfed Powys Police’s Rural Crime Team said: “The aim of Op Seabird is not that of enforcement but of engagement and education with the public to ensure they enjoy our beautiful coastline safely and responsibly.

“Last year we saw a large increase in disturbance offences mainly due to a certain celebrity walrus who came to holiday in Tenby! It is important for the public to also be aware that by disturbing wildlife they may be committing offences under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.”

RSPCA inspector Andy Broadbent said: “We want people to enjoy watching our marine wildlife but this should be done at a safe and sensible distance without disturbing the animals.

“Every year, the RSPCA’s wildlife centres have to treat and rehabilitate a wide range of wildlife – including seals and seabirds – which have been injured or orphaned due to human disturbance.

“While last year, we may remember Wally the Walrus who visited Pembrokeshire for a long period of time. It was really concerning when we had reports of some people trying to get close to him by using jet skis or paddle and surf boards. It wasn’t in his best interest and we always urge people to act responsibly when they see any marine animal.

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“If people have concerns about an animal, they should keep their distance and contact the RSPCA helpline on 0300 1234 999 (daily 7am-10pm).”

Operation Seabird is urging people visiting Britain’s coastline to maintain a significant distance from wildlife, both at sea and around the coast; never get close enough to touch animals or take selfies; read signs and stick to paths; and keep dogs on leads where instructed to do so and keep dogs under control at all times.

As the holiday season begins, high visibility patrols by the RSPCA, local police forces and wildlife groups will target coastal areas where people and animals interact, such as beaches with seal colonies, dolphins swimming offshore or sites with nesting seabirds.

Sergeant Liam Jones of the North Wales Police Rural Crime Team said: “Op Seabird Cymru seeks to engage key partners to work with the police throughout Wales to educate those people who use our coastal areas and seas and to enable them to enjoy our wildlife safely and without disturbance.

“Over the years we have seen an increase in people using our coastal areas and being unaware of the effect that they can have on coastal birds and mammals if they act irresponsibly. A disturbance can have a devastating effect on certain species and their habitats and with simple education and engagement we can help prevent it from happening.”

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Dog attacks can kill seals, as well as posing a risk to the dogs themselves from bites that can become infected from the bacteria that live inside a seal’s mouth. Seal pups disturbed by curious people will move off into the sea, using valuable energy which they need to survive and grow. Birds such as little terns travel thousands of miles to breed in very specific UK coastal points.

They have one annual chance to nest and produce young, but if disturbed this opportunity is lost, and due to their ground nesting habit they are particularly vulnerable to dogs, and careless feet.

Andy added: “While our beautiful beach and coastal areas are great to have fun in, they are natural habitats and breeding grounds for many native and migratory animals, including several species on the endangered list. We humans share this space, and we can easily and unwittingly cause disturbance, fear, and distress.

“For many tourists it can be surprising and exciting to see marine mammals, including seals and their pups which will normally rest on the beach at various times of year, as well as ground nesting birds which are usually resident between March to September. But as tempting as it is to approach them, we would respectfully ask that everyone stays at a distance and keeps their dogs on leads and under control.

“Our message is to ‘Observe, Don’t Disturb’ as people visit Britain’s wonderful coastline.”

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