The multi-award winning charity Dogs on the Streets (DOTS) is working with SWT to support rough sleepers and the homeless community with dogs.
The clinical director and the founder of DOTS were in Taunton on Tuesday (30 July) for an initial session at the Open Door charity in Mount Street where a team will continue to attend on a monthly basis to provide veterinary care, essential dog equipment and advice.
The service in Taunton has been secured by SWT’s Streetwise team and is one of a number of initiatives in place to address issues associated with rough sleeping and anti-social behaviour locally.
Cllr Chris Booth said: “I am delighted that we have been able to arrange these visits from DOTS who are dedicated to the welfare of dogs belonging to the UK’s homeless community.
The monthly service will make a real difference to the quality of life for dogs who live on our streets and in hostels with their owners. It makes sense to give consideration to their welfare as part of our continuing efforts to provide the necessary support to rough sleepers which in turn will benefit the wider community.”
DOTs was founded in 2017 by Michelle Clark to offer 24/7 support for dogs and their homeless owners, recognising the strong bond between them.
In Taunton DOTS will provide:-
- Free 24 hour veterinary care.
- Free vaccinations and health checks.
- Free fostering/kennelling for dogs when their owners are in hospital or otherwise unable to look after them.
- Free dog food so the dogs have a proper diet
Michelle said: “To a homeless dog owner, their dog is their world. They will quite often put the needs of the dog before their own, they love and care for them that much. It’s a privilege to be able to care for these devoted dogs and give support to their owners, and we are looking forward to making a real difference in Taunton.”
The Council has been working with partners including the Police and other support agencies to ensure that a supportive approach is taken with every individual rough sleeper to identify and address the issues of real concern and develop a joined-up service to help them break the cycle of homelessness and addiction.
It operates a Diverted Giving scheme which means that people can donate money directly to the local charity Open Door rather than giving to people begging on the streets. Open Door uses the cash to provide meals, showers, laundry and support to rough sleepers from its base in Mount Street.
Donations can be made to DOTs via their website https://www.dogsonthestreets.org/donate
100% of all donations to DOTS goes on essentials and care for street dogs.