Dogs in pound set for Christmas treat
PUBLISHED: 18:59 02 January 2015
For stray pooches in Hackney, spending Christmas in the borough’s dog pound was a bleak prospect.
But thanks to dedicated dog warden Tumer Hassan – who is known to all as T – his four-legged family had plenty to look forward to.
Before celebrating with his family, he will spent the morning in the company of the unwanted dogs at the new Millfields Road facility.
Mr Hassan delivered Christmas hampers to each of the dogs which, thanks to Abbey Vets, Dalston, and beauty salon Beaucatcher’s, Stoke Newington, will be stacked full of pig’s ears, toys, dog biscuits, bedding, blankets and all kinds of other gifts donated by residents.
All of this will be enjoyed in the borough’s new luxury £150,000 kennels, each individually heated and suitably “chew-proof”, before Mr Hassan and a group of volunteers take the dogs out for a Christmas day stroll.
Although the dogs are living the high-life for the festive season, Mr Hassan, who has been Hackney’s dog warden for seven years, has seen hints of the terrible pasts some of the animals have.
He said: “Six years ago, I picked up one dog which was just a bag of bones because it had not been fed for three to four weeks. It was a Staffie cross and it had been left behind in a flat.”
Another tale of neglect is particularly painful to hear.
“There was one dog, called Missy, who had been kept inside a flat for so long that her claws had grown into the soft pads of her feet.”
The two dogs the Gazette is introduced to are Alfie and Trigger. They are both boisterous but very gentle. But listening to the stories of some of the dogs Mr Hassan has brought in, it is perhaps unsurprising to hear that some can be aggressive.
“You don’t have to be tough, but you do have to be understanding”, he said. “It’s a cliché, but it’s true, there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.”
While the dogs at Millfields have a day of festive celebrations to look forward to, Mr Hassan pointed out that others are being brought home by new owners who are naïve about the responsibilities that owning a dog entail.
Although Mr Hassan said that the peak he used to see in dogs being abandoned shortly after the Christmas was less noticeable nowadays – thanks to campaigns run by organisations such as the Dogs Trust – he said he still thought that too many people treated dogs like “disposable items”.
So while people may well be welcoming new pets into the family home tomorrow morning, he urged new owners to think carefully about the commitment.
“You need to work out who is going to look after the dogs at all times of the day, who is going to take it for walks and whether you can afford it. You might want to borrow your friend’s dog to get an idea of the time they take up,” he said.
Hackney Council spent more than £70, 000 on dealing with 250 stray dogs last year.
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