Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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A dog’s life

September 25 2009
Most homeless organisations will not accept dog owners this winter A 'shocking' majority of homeless organisations will not accept dog owners this winter, a UK dog welfare charity has revealed.

According to research from the Dogs Trust - the country's largest dog welfare charity - almost 73 per cent of day centres and shelters will not welcome anybody who owns a dog. The trust said: "This leaves the majority of dog owners who are homeless or in housing crisis without the support and shelter they so desperately need."

In response to their findings, the trust has launched a campaign to persuade housing providers to reconsider their policies on dogs and dog owners with a 'Welcoming Dogs' booklet. This is based on the advice and experiences of organisations that already allow dogs into their projects. It includes simple guidelines and essential policies to help hostels, day centres and shelters make a decision about whether or not to accept dogs.

Chris Laurence, Dogs Trust veterinary director, said: "Many dog owners are forced to decide between accommodation and their beloved pets - and the reality is that many of these dog owners will choose the love and companionship of their dog over their own needs." He added that over half of those questioned in the survey listed 'project policy' as a reason why they did not accept dogs and their owners.

Julie Jarrett, manager of Endsleigh Gardens, a St Mungo's hostel, added: "When we opened Endsleigh Gardens a couple of years ago, I thought it was important that we have homeless dog owners here with their dogs." "We have a dog contract that all owners must sign up to and we've never had any problems," she added.

At Crisis Open Christmas, in the East Centre in Rodwell House (near Liverpool Street), the only one that allowed guests to bring dogs, guests and volunteers witnessed a happy event: the birth of 10 puppies by one of the guests' four-legged friends.