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Hackney Council gives stray dogs style makeover in bid to re-home them

PUBLISHED: 14:22 23 April 2013 | UPDATED: 14:48 23 April 2013

Volunteers Ben Kennedy, left, Kelly Edmondson and dog warden T with some of the stray dogs to be rehomed through Hackney Council's new scheme.

Volunteers Ben Kennedy, left, Kelly Edmondson and dog warden T with some of the stray dogs to be rehomed through Hackney Council's new scheme.

Archant

The style-makeover given to Hackney's stray dogs in a bid to re-home them has been praised by Ever Decreasing Circles actor and patron of All Dogs Matter, Peter Egan.

Abandoned dogs in the borough are donning brightly coloured jackets and special colour-coded leads whilst out on walks with local resident volunteers, to attract the attention of people who might want to provide them a home.

The jackets have details of how to re-home the dogs and the collars have seven different messages letting people know whether they are friendly, nervous around other dogs, have sight or hearing problems or that they should not be approached.

Hackney Council collected 230 stray dogs in the borough last year, and works with All Dogs Matter and Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to re-home them.

Actor Peter Egan, best known for his role in sitcom Ever Decreasing Circles, who is chair and patron of All Dogs Matter praised the scheme when he visited the dog pound in Millfields Road last Friday.

“These are all good things for the public to know when they are approaching a dog, particularly dogs that are in pounds,” said Mr Egan who keeps a pack of six rescue dogs himself at home.

“Generally dogs that are dumped will have issues because their environment has changed so quickly, people are careless about how they get rid of dogs, and when dogs are frightened they will have fear and aggression.”

Mr Egan does not believe many people realise how serious the problem of abandoning dogs is.

“It’s a crisis,” he said.

“Thousands and thousands of dogs are killed each year because of back street careless breeding and because people believe animals are a commodity they can sell.

Mr Egan, whose own dog Megan had been used for breeding, believes introducing a strictly enforced licence for breeders would help ease the crisis.

“Megan had been kept in the cage for two years, her teats were on the floor and she was so frightened if you raised your voice she would immediately wet herself,” he said.

“Many people are breeding as a small business, if one female has three litters a year you can get 15-20 dogs a year, but often they find they can’t sell them so they kick them out or sell them for fight bait.”

“It’s quite heartbreaking, the beautiful dogs that are killed each year, the more pounds I visited I thought I want to be a voice for this,” added the actor who recently appeared in Downton Abbey’s Christmas special.

“I love dogs because they live in the moment, they have helped mankind evolve, they are just remarkable intuitive creatures that have so much more to offer other than just being a pet, if you intuit with your dog it’s more than just loyalty, they are multi-faceted and wonderful creatures.”

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