The LGAWG is a voluntary group which evolved from the Companion Animal Focus Group as set up by LACORS which was part of the LGA. We reformed the group around the Animal Activity Regulations 2018 as we were working with DEFRA on that legislation and felt we needed to have a mechanism that enabled us to put forward the expertise of inspectors in the formation of legislation and provided information back to local authorities on policy development. We currently have around 550 inspectors signed up to LGAWG and we have a steering board of ten local authority inspectors from around the country. We would welcome any inspector who wants to get more involved joining that board and attending our DEFRA meetings. We have around 500+ inspectors signed up for information.
The LGAWG is chaired by Sharon Edwards, former Senior Animal Health Inspector at the City of London Corporation which, alongside the usual environmental work, also operates Heathrow Animal Reception Centre as part of its statutory responsibility for enforcing animal health and welfare legislation. Sharon has extensive experience in the animal welfare field having advised many NGOs, being a member of the Canine & Feline Sector Group, is vice-chair of the Kennel Club Assured Breeders Group and having worked alongside DEFRA on the Animal Activity Licensing. Sharon is also Vice-Chair of the Trading Standards South East Regional Animal Health & Welfare Panel.
The LGAWG is run by Marisa Heath who also leads the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare and the Canine & Feline Sector Group. Marisa has been a Borough and County Councillor for over 16 years leading the Environmental portfolio and being Deputy Leader. She worked alongside DEFRA in the development of the Dog and Cat Welfare Codes, the Animal Activity Licensing and the Third Party Sales ban.