A PIONEERING pet retailer has taken the lead in supporting a campaign for retired police dogs.
PetPlace in Abergele will host charity events throughout the summer, including an afternoon tea and fundraising activities in aid of Paws Off Duty on Thursday May 16 from 9am-4pm.
The company – which also has stores in Ruthin, Chirk, Mold and Llangefni – will be joined on the day by founder Jackie Edwards and her police dogs Fiona and Scotty, along with fellow handlers and their ‘K9s’ from the dog section of North Wales Police.
Jackie established the benevolent fund in 2015 to help with the day to day costs of looking after the animals when they retire.
Under police regulations, dogs used for general purpose or specialist work are paid for by the force up until the point they retire, often between the ages of seven and 10 years old.
Once they leave all support ends and the costs sit with the dog’s handler, or new owner if it has been rehomed.
PetPlace, which opened a landmark cinema, play park and coffee shop for dogs at its Abergele store in December, regularly supports the appeal and sells copies of the Paws Off Duty calendar across its North Wales sites.
Managing Director Sion Pritchard said they will continue to do all they can to support the appeal.
“The dedication of the dogs and the service they give to our communities in helping to fight crime is just incredible, so they deserve our care when that ends,” said Sion.
“As well as afternoon tea there will be a raffle and the police dog handlers and K9s will be in attendance, so we hope to see lots of people there on the day.”
Jackie added: “PetPlace have been brilliant in supporting Paws Off Duty and were instrumental in making it a registered charity through various fundraising events.
“I can’t thank them enough for this and would also like to thank the kind volunteers and members of the public who have supported us throughout.”
Jackie said paying medical fees and rehoming the dogs can be expensive, and it is a lot of responsibility for the handlers as the animals will be replaced in the force.
“It’s a big commitment, and not just financially,” she said.
“Hopefully we can raise as much money as possible on the day and continue caring for the animals when they’ve retired, because they give so much during service.
“They are fantastic and are out on the front-line fighting crime alongside police officers, so it’s important they are given a happy home.”
Jackie added: “My future goal is to raise enough funds to erect a permanent K9 memorial for our brave police dogs at the Pet Cemetery in Holywell, which will include commemorative plaques to honour them.”
PetPlace also works alongside Wagtail UK in training detection dogs, which play a major role in the war on drugs and terrorism, in the UK and overseas.
As well as Paws off Duty the business is a big supporter of Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospice and raised up to £200 with a cake sale in April.
For more information, visit www.farmandpetplace.co.uk/Abergele