This Christmas, homeless people may have to pick between their dog and shelter.


This Christmas, homeless people may have to pick between their dog and shelter.

On the run-up to Christmas, homeless individuals in Merseyside are being given a worrisome ultimatum, according to one local animal charity.

Over the next few months, rough sleepers may be forced to choose between keeping their dog and seeking warmth in a shelter, according to Street Paws, which provides front line veterinary treatment and support for the north of England’s homeless pet population.

According to the charity, one out of every ten homeless people owns a pet, but only about 10% of hostels in the area allow animals inside.

Now, Street Paws has decided that enough is enough and has begun a campaign to persuade other hostels to become dog champions and accept the dogs of those in need as well.

The scheme’s goal is to provide hostel personnel with the necessary skills to ensure that residents and their pets are safe.

It provides hostels with accredited training and support, canine first aid training and a first aid kit, pet policy advice, owner agreements, a resident welcome pack of pet needs, Street Paws patient registration, and comprehensive veterinarian treatment.

Michelle Southern, the charity’s founder, who oversees its work in cities such as Manchester, Leeds, and Newcastle, as well as Liverpool and smaller towns, said: “The bond that exists between a homeless person and their pet is well documented, and it provides the owner with numerous mental and physical benefits.

“Despite this, most homeless persons are required to give up their pets in order to get housing. Owning a dog, according to the Street Paws organization, should not be a barrier to receiving help or finding a secure place to sleep.

“As the nights grow longer and colder, it’s critical that as many people as possible go to a shelter, and we believe that training hostels and assisting them in becoming pet friendly is a huge step forward.”

The charity has also formed a collaboration with England’s Dogs on the Streets charity to ensure that those in need across the country have the opportunity to spend the winter with their canine companions.


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