Cardiff Dogs Home
It isn't often nowadays that you see stray dogs wandering the streets of Cardiff. This is largely thanks to the work of Cardiff Council's Dogs Home and warden service. The Council is obliged to keep Cardiff safe and clear of all sorts of undesirable pests, but dogs are very different to rats and cockroaches. To many, dogs are best friends, walking buddies, and lifelong companions – not necessarily pests. So, we went to learn more about those dogs who are caught straying from their Cardiff homes.
Personally, I find the term 'dog pound' to be an ugly one. Dogs home is far more appropriate and in the case of Cardiff Dogs Home, far closer to the truth.
Typically, most councils employ a policy where dogs have to stay in the home for seven days (so that if they are just lost, their owners can come to collect them). However, after this period, councils are not obligated to keep the dogs. Often the councils decide to have them put down, rather than run up costs and to free up housing space. Cardiff's dog home, however, is quite different.
The site, which houses around 40 dogs, aims to rehome as many dogs as possible after the seven day period, with the help of Friends of Cardiff Dogs Home (a charity set up to support the dogs home). They don't just get rid of dogs – they aim to provide them with quality of life with a new, responsible owner.
As a dog owner myself, it was heartbreaking to see so many dogs from broken homes in the Cardiff area. They weren't the mad animals I was expecting, too uncontrollable to live with their owners. These were obedient, lively creatures, victims of domestic issues and neglect. It made me feel sick to the stomach to know that some were raised to fight other dogs, were bought as fashion accessories or status dogs. Some were blinded and one looked scolded. Although they were kept in safe, comfortable conditions, many were too nervous to come and see us. It was tragic to think how many dogs are brought to the home by people who haven't done their research before getting a dog, or by people unwilling to pay for holiday kennels, or who found that having a dog was too high-maintenance.
The work of Cardiff Dogs Home and Friends of Cardiff Dogs Home is elemental in the positive surge of concern for animal welfare in the area. Its work is funded mostly by fundraising, and dogs are walked by a team of around 500 keen volunteers, all of whom are dedicated dog lovers. Despite the fact that Friends of Cardiff Dogs home has only been involved for the last year, the site has been cleared of litter, paths have been made accessible, and a sensory garden is being prepared for the dogs. The outbuilding was built using money left for the dogs home, and was officially opened by John Barrowman, who also adopted a Jack Russell from the home.
They work in partnership with colleges and schools to get young people and adults alike involved with developing the dogs and preparing them for rehoming. They currently offer spaces to 16-18 year olds through the ACT training scheme where young people can obtain an NVQ in Animal Care. They are also looking at developing training for the volunteer dogwalkers to better prepare the dogs for a new life
Currently, you don't have to be a volunteer to help out the Cardiff Dogs Home. Even raising awareness via the Facebook page, or by checking out their Twitter, allows them to promote their work, and to get involved with their fundraising. Their Facebook page gives details of the dogs that live there and the status of their fundraising, and you can find out more on their backgrounds and check out which Cardiff Dogs Home events are up and coming in the Cardiff area.