WEYMOUTH and Portland's dog warden Rod Wild has retired after 10 years.

Rod, 62, served with the Royal Navy for 32 years and, when duties allowed, he continued with his long-established voluntary service with Purbeck and Bovington Beagles and was secretary of Osprey Beagles Club.

When he retired from the Navy, he did a pest control course and, with his vast experience with dogs, he was well qualified to fill the vacancy when the borough council advertised the job that he has enjoyed for a decade.

As far as the canines have been concerned - and there are an estimated 8,000 in the borough - he has been involved with those that have been lost, found, abandoned or injured, giving advice to owners and assisting police in doggy' matters.

He said: "Dogs are not the major problem - it's the owners who allow them to foul the streets and pathways, do not keep them on leads and neglect to have them tagged."

He went on to explain that the lack of tagging was a major issue and yet it is one that could be solved easily through joining the borough council's inexpensive 'Dorset' scheme - the Dog Registration Scheme to Encourage Tagging.

Regarding pest control, Rod said: "We deal with 'Roland and Mickey' but there is a big problem with fleas and bed bugs are on the increase."

He added: "Now I want to spend more time with my family and my old whippet Tarn, tend my allotment and concentrate more on my involvement with Portland Amateur Radio Club.

Taking over the lead from Rod is Ian Lewis, 57, of Portland, a former Coldstream Guard and dog handler with the Royal Military Police.

At 6ft 3in and built to match, Ian said that he hopes that people will say hello on his rounds.

He added: "Don't let my size put you off - really I'm a gentle giant!"