Fond memories of ‘glorious’ job for Rutland dog warden Barry

Retired dog warden  Barry Briggs at home at South Witham with his dog Ozzy EMN-150921-185716009

Retired dog warden Barry Briggs at home at South Witham with his dog Ozzy EMN-150921-185716009

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Rutland’s beloved dog warden is looking back on more than 16 years of happy memories in the job ahead of his retirement this month.

Barry Briggs will officially hang up his uniform at the end of September.

Barry, from South Witham, has worked for Rutland County Council as the county’s dog warden for 16-and-a-half years, and will leave behind a job that he truly loves.

“It’s been 16-and-a-half glorious years since I started,” he said. “It was a job-and-a-half; I have absolutely loved it.”

Barry grew up around animals. His father was a shepherd so he spent much of his time with dogs, and has always kept them at home, training them to a fun level.

But he only started working with animals relatively recently.

“I worked for 29-and-a-half years at a cold store distribution company,” he said.

“I was made redundant and my dad spotted the advert for a dog warden. Because of my love of dogs I applied and got the job.”

Barry’s job over the years has involved a number of different tasks. In particular, dog wardens are employed to deal with problems caused by irresponsible dog ownership, including noise, aggression, fouling and strays.

Recently Barry worked with Uppingham Town Council on the We’re Watching You campaign, run by Keep Britain Tidy to try to combat the problem of dog fouling. The idea is to encourage people to report dog fouling and identify hotspots.

His job also involved education and he was often asked to give talks to primary school pupils in the county.

“I loved doing the school talks”, said Barry.

The job of a dog warden can be quite harrowing. Barry said: “There were some testing moments, particularly when I was called to injured dogs. But it was lovely when you handed them over to the owner, especially when they had been missing for some time. A dog is part of the family.

“There were also some sad moments with hare coursing.”

Barry worked with different organisations across the area, including Three Counties Dog Rescue in Bourne, to make sure Rutland’s dogs got the best treatment possible.

And Barry also organised the dog show in Cutts Close, Oakham, which ran for 10 years. More than 2,000 people turned up to the last two shows and plenty was raised for rehoming centres.

And he was rewarded for his hard work when he won dog warden of the year in 2007. Barry said: “That was a very proud moment.”

Barry admits he will miss being Rutland’s dog warden. But he will keep helping Three Counties and now has more time to spend with his wife Gwen, daughter Julie and two granddaughters. His two black labradors, Ozzy and Roxy, will also appreciate having him at home.

The county council’s director for places Dave Brown thanked Barry for his hard work. He said: “During his time at the council, Barry has helped countless people – and animals – and done a huge amount to promote the role of dog warden within the local community. Barry will be greatly missed by everyone here and we wish him all the very best in his retirement.”

Midland Environmental Contracts will operate the council’s dog warden service on an interim basis.