A DOG warden from Basingstoke has been recognised with a prestigious award for the sixth consecutive year.

Laura Yeates has proven she’s leading the way when it comes to reuniting lost dogs with their owners and looking after every stray dog in the council’s care.

She has been given the RSPCA Gold Stray Dog PawPrint Award for the sixth year in a row, acknowledging the quality of the service she and those who work with her provide.

The Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council dog warden works with the council’s environmental health team and community safety patrol officers, dealing with the welfare of stray dogs, providing an out-of-hours service and working to promote responsible dog ownership.

She also works with a number of re-homing charities to find places for unclaimed dogs.

The environmental health team support the service by dealing with dog welfare issues, noise complaints relating to dog barking and dog fouling complaints.

Laura said: “My job is hugely rewarding and, while it’s not always easy, I feel so lucky that I am able to make a difference, particularly when it comes to reuniting dogs with their owners.

"My priority is always that the dogs are happy.

“I am proud my colleagues and I have gained the award again.

"It is important to us and acknowledges the high standards we set ourselves.”

Dog owners are expected to keep their pets under proper control, are legally required to ensure the animals are microchipped and wear a collar and ID, so they can be reunited if they escape.

Any dog that is dealt with as a stray will incur a release fee, kennelling charge and possibly, an out-of-hours’ fee. Dog owners are also reminded that all dogs over eight weeks old must be microchipped and registered or they risk prosecution and a £500 fine.

Speaking to the Gazette after last year’s win, Laura said: “I wouldn’t want to go down from a gold, that’s the highest you can get."

“It gives me a headache for about six months of the year,” she added, likening it to a food premises’ star rating.

Having been in the job for nearly 20 years, Laura said she has no plans of stopping.

She stressed that much of her work was a team effort, praising the staff of the kennels she often works with.

“They brilliant and without them and their support I wouldn’t be here," she said.

Cabinet member for environment and enforcement, Cllr Hayley Eachus, said: “This award is a reflection of the high standards of the council’s animal welfare service.

“Laura and the team provide an outstanding service and thoroughly deserve this accolade.”