Bid to help street dogs and owners

VOLUNTEERS who help street dogs and their homeless ­owners will set up their first Scottish network in Glasgow.

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Hearthounds UK, which is based in Yorkshire, will visit the city tomorrow to speak to homeless dog owners struggling to survive on the streets with their pets.

The group pay for food, veterinary care and neutering, warm clothing and also help the homeless owners find shelter.

Hearthounds started three years ago after a homeless man in West Yorkshire, appealed for help when his pet ­suffered a broken leg which vets refused to treat without payment.

Volunteers rallied to get the injured dog urgent medical attention and have been working to help other street ­animals ever since.

Over the years, they have seen a number of tragic stories and helped a homeless man who handed over the last of his cash to buy a puppy from a vicious dog fighting ring where the terrified Staffordshire terrier was being used a bait.

Organisers say many people become homeless with their dogs and others typically rescue the animals from abuse while living on the streets.

Volunteer Carrie Spurgeon, 52, said: "The dogs are often the only friends these homeless people have.

"They help keep them warm, and protect them and they are absolutely devoted to each other.

"The owners will often feed the dogs before they feed themselves but we want to make sure that both are being fed and that they are getting the right food to eat."

Homeless dog owners are unable to access free medical care that is offered by some charities because they are not on benefits, which is often a requirement.

They are also missing out spending nights in shelters because they are not allowed to take dogs inside.

Hearthounds, which also wants to set up a kennel service to combat this problem, relies on word of mouth to find potential new cases but also takes to the streets at night to scope out those who need help.

This is what the ­volunteers will do on Saturday night when they visit Glasgow.

Carrie is making the journey from her home in East Riding along with others.

If you would like to offer your help to the group, contact Carrie on 01405 704136 or visit the Hearthounds UK Facebook page.

linzi.watson@eveningtimes.co.uk

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