Education is key to keeping pets happy and healthy

RAF MILDENHALL, England --
A new animal welfare officer here wants to help pet owners through education while they are stationed in England.
 
Yve Chadwick, 48th Mission Support Squadron animal welfare officer employed by the Ministry of Defence, said the animal welfare office is responsible for RAFs Mildenhall, Lakenheath and Feltwell, and helps protect pets by helping owners with pet care.
 
One thing the office is responsible for is ensuring Airmen submit paperwork on their pets during in- and out-processing.
 
Anytime Airmen buy, sell or adopt pets, they should update their information with the AWO. Then, if an animal is lost, abandoned or runs away authorities can return the pet to its owners. 

The AWO serves as a buffer between Airmen and the local government, said Ms. Chadwick. If the office receives a complaint about a pet owner, it can be handled internally. That way the AWO is able to correct the problem with something as simple as counseling, training or a warning. 

However, if a pet listed to an Airman gets picked up by a dog warden or the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Airman faces a fine and kennel charges. 

According to Ms. Chadwick, the AWO is now producing an information packet to help streamline all the information pet owners need. The packet will include such information as a welcome letter, AWO contact information, RAF Feltwell's veterinary clinic information and step-by-step instructions on how to fill out pet registration forms.
 
Those packets will be available in orderly rooms and during newcomer's briefings.
"We'd also like to put it on the Web site so people can get the information before they come into the country," Ms. Chadwick said. 

Working together, the AWO and American pet owners can make life a little easier for man's best friend, and help change they way pet owners are perceived. 

"Obviously when people have difficulty, and they need help, I'll always help them," Ms. Chadwick said. "That's what I'm here for - to help with any of the pet issues they might have."

What to know: For questions or comments concerning pet registration and ownership in England, please e-mail Yve Chadwick, animal welfare officer, at yvonnne.chadwick@lakenheath.af.mil.