A day at Dalton Tags is always different.

Dalton Tags helps identify strays in Santorini, Greece.

Bruce Fogle, Principal Veterinarian of the London Veterinary Clinic and prolific TV personality, sent a request to Dalton Tags for a special mission on the Greek isle of Santorini. Abandoned animals on the isle is an ongoing issue for the residents and the Satorini Animal Welfare Association, which advocates for the rights of animals and helps neuter, deworm and give vaccinations to strays in Santorini. SAWA currently houses around 100 dogs, 13 donkeys, 20 cats and two pigs. But there are far more animals on the streets living as strays without a food source or home. SAWA works in cooperation with the municipality of Thira to try to rehome the animals off the isle and insure that all the stray animals are neutered and spayed, vaccinated and treated in case of injury,disease or poisoning.

Santorini’s stray animal population mirrors that of Greece as a whole. the Greek Reporter wrote in an October 2018 article that stray dogs are part of an unbroken image not just of Athens, but of most Greek cities due to the financial crisis of 2008

“Countless Greek families left their pets on the streets as they couldn’t afford their care anymore,” The Greek Reporter wrote. “This, combined with the lack of education and funding by the Greek authorities has left thousands of animals without sterilization, resulting in an increasing number of dogs and cats living on the streets.”

The Greek Reporter stated that according to Greek animal charities, more than one million stray dogs and cats are living on Greek streets.

“Most of them are friendly but the inhumane conditions under which they’re forced to live, especially during the hot summer days and cold winter nights, might make them aggressive, considering the lack of food and attacks most of them experience on a daily basis,” the Greek Reporter wrote.

In December, Fogle helped sterilse abandoned dogs there and needed a way to keep track of the animal. He wanted to help mitigate the issue by importing some animals back to London to find homes. Fogle said he and veterinarian surgeon Jo Jerjis sterilised and ID tagged around 200 dogs on this trip.

“The municipal authority has been unable to maintain a tag register which is, of course, central for managing statistics,” Fogle said. “So tagging elsewhere in Greece is on hold. In the meantime however, the tags indicate both to locals and to tourists that these dogs ‘are known to the authorities.’”

Fogle said Daltons Tags were perfect for helping register the animals on the isle.

Many of the abandoned dogs we sterilised are purebreds that would be easy to rehome in the UK, Fogle said.

“For example this Golden Retriever (with a healing bite wound to his hind leg) had a delightful personality,” he said. “I did select three of the smallest dogs, arranged kennelling, rabies vaccination and more, on Santorini and eventually brought them to the UK and rehomed them here.”

According to Fogle, to import the animals it cost around £600 per dog. With the dogs he brought back, Fogle was able to remove the tags — in which the holes heal very quickly — to find them forever homes.

Fogle and Jerjis met many animals on the isle they blood tested and are free of Mediterranean diseases.

Most of the dogs there are between 10-16 kg and under two years old.

Anyone interested in giving any of these dogs a home should contact the London Veterinary Clinic. Getting them here is expensive, but Jo and Bruce say they are excellent with people.

Nottinghamshire tag company helps track endangered crocodiles

Dalton Tags, an animal ID and tag producer out of Newark Nottinghamshire, regularly gets requests to make tags for cattle, sheep and goats.

Recently, the company received an unusual request from the Zoology Department out of the University of Oxford.

They wanted tags for crocodiles — and an extremely rare one at that.

The Gavialis gangeticus or Gharial, a species of crocodile on the critically endangered species list, resides in inland freshwaters and wetlands of Nepal and parts of India. The gharial is one of the largest species of crocodiles in the world, measuring up to 5-6 meters long. The species possesses a particularly unique long and slender snout with up to 110 razor-sharp teeth.

Unfortunately, the gharial was the first species of crocodilian to be labeled critically endangered with less than 182 known crocodiles left in 2006.

Currently, the biggest threat to the gharial is habitat loss due to people clearing wetland areas for firewood or farmland. People also take the crocodile’s eggs for medicinal purposes and kill male gharial for there snout as it is believed that part of it is an aphrodisiac. The gharial also face issues with fishing as they get caught in gil nets and die trying to get out. In 2007, the species faced another hardship as gout wiped out more than 110 crocodiles.

To help increase the species chance of survival, many conservation efforts have been in effect in recent years. A group called the Gharial Multi-Task Force, regional and international crocodilian specialists, are researching and trying to keep this species from going extinct. To help study endangered animals, conservationist need to collect data.

The Zoology Department at Oxford University wanted to tag the endangered crocodile species. The goal of tagging the crocodiles is to study and collect spatial and reproductive ecology data inform ongoing conservation efforts on the species, according to Phoebe Griffith, who is researching the Gavialis gangeticus. Griffith researches the species through Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, WildCRU and Zoological Society London’s Institute of Zoology. Griffith and the research teams work to conduct research on the population of the endangered species with a catch-and-release tagging method.

In Griffith’s research profile, she notes that she is working with the Zoological Society London to conduct a study on the ecology of gharial in the Rapti and Narayani rivers in Chitwan National Park, Nepal.

“In particular, we aim to conduct post-release monitoring of gharial that are captive-reared as part of the National Park’s ongoing conservation efforts for the species, and compare this to ecological data we are collecting on free-living gharial,” Griffith wrote. “Using telemetry, observational data, camera trapping and local ecological knowledge we aim to build a strong evidence base for future work in Nepal to conserve this Critically Endangered species.”

General Manager Diane D’bouk said that “Dalton tags are regarded as the best in the market and are extremely strong, and that’s why the University of Oxford chose our Flexo Tags for this purpose.“

“The tags are applied once a hole has been drilled into the tail scutes,” Diane said. “The scutes are extremely tough and almost impossible to penetrate hence the need for a hole to be drilled first!”

During the university’s research, the team tagged five of the gharial with plans to capture at least 15 more throughout the next week. Dalton Tags has been chosen for other conservation efforts, including tagging sharks, seals, Artic foxes and turtles.

Diane said “Dalton Tag’s Flexo tags were ordered with a sequential number format so every tag has a unique number. Now all of the crocodiles have their very own number and can be tracked and monitored”


A history of Livestock ID Tags

From the beginning of the domestication of livestock, humans have sought to mark what is theirs.  It makes sense: proving ownership, while it may seem somewhat archaic in modern times, was an important part of keeping track of any herd.  The human motivations to identify and trace livestock throughout history have really not drastically changed but the technology has. Animal identification has included branding, collars, tattooing and ear notching; all means to mark ownership, identify lineage, and trace and monitor disease.

The earliest documented event of animal identification purportedly dates to 1275 when the Brit, Thomas of Walsingham, related his investigation of a certain sheep disease that plagued British sheep for a quarter century. The disease vector was, at that time, pinpointed to a single sheep import from France.  While the circumstances surrounding use of identification is unclear, what is clear is that disease has always driven humans to monitor livestock in some fashion.

In 1799, Sir Joseph Banks created the first known modern ear tag, made of tin, as a means of identification for the Merino flock of sheep owned by King George III.  Since that time, modifications and improvements of the ear tag have followed the needs of farming industry. Cost, loss, efficiency, theft have been considered as new technologies have become available.  Shortly after WWII, steel and nickel were quickly replaced with plastic, a fairly new, lightweight, sanitary, weather resistant material for the times. Quickly, and often due to governmental oversight in countries that were requiring traceability, the ear tag was modified and perfected.  In 1953, the first self-piercing ear tags appeared on the market and provided an efficient and blood free way of identifying livestock, thus ensuring less transfer of disease. Across the globe, modern governmental eradication requirements for tuberculosis, brucellosis, scrapies and pseudorabies have mandated ear tagging with specific requirements for the tags.  BSE outbreaks in the UK, then in the USA, saw the expansion of Electronic Identification ear tags or EID. Further, RFID ear tags, allow for easy identification for all pertinent information of an individual animal as radio frequency transmits data right from the animal to computer-based software. They offer a unique and truly innovative approach to management whether that concerns feed rations based on a number of factors such as age, lactation, gestation, etc., as well as all important disease monitoring, pedigree notation, medical treatment records and individual performance data.  Modern ear tags also serve as insect repellent tools and more interestingly as means for actual tissue capture for laboratory testing, such as the Dalton BVD Tag & Test range.

All breed registries require permanent identification for recorded animals in order to maintain the integrity of parentage.  The advancement of animal genetic coding has driven producers to see the benefit of DNA testing which not only proves lineage but can be used in a smart and educated breeding program.  Today’s producers are able to strategically design breeding programs based on genetics in order to choose for production, body type, udder shape, casein content, birth weight and a whole host of other genetic factors.  And of course, the ear tag industry has modified its products to meet those needs. The Dalton Tissue Sampling ear tag was created with the breeder in mind. DNA collection is integrated into its design and allows for an efficient and cost-effective capture of genetic material for intelligent breeding decisions.  The future of ear tag innovation is only limited by the creativity of enterprises like Dalton Tags who understand the needs of its clients.


Easter Prize Draw in aid of Asthma UK

We are running an Easter Prize Draw in aid of Asthma UK. Two yummy prizes up for grabs and only £1 to enter. Call into our premises to enter!