Police dogs memorial to be unveiled

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A UNIQUE memorial for Lancashire Constabulary police dogs that have passed away will be officially unveiled at the force’s Dog Unit later this week.

It is being funded by the Retired Police Dogs Benevolent Fund which was established in 2004 to support handlers in caring for their retired dogs.

The memorial will be unveiled by Lancashire’s former Chief Constable Pauline Clare, who helped to establish the benevolent during her time in post, on Wednesday 22 October 2014.

Dog Trainer Sergeant Neil Fitzgerald said: “Police dogs are an integral part of operational policing within Lancashire and provide an invaluable service to our county; therefore it is right that they should be recognised by way of this memorial.

“The names of those police dogs which have passed away will be added to the memorial so that the people who knew and loved them can visit and pay their respects. We are very grateful to the Benevolent Fund for making this happen.”

The people behind the Retired Police Dogs Benevolent Fund are a small group of animal welfare supporters, some of whom are members of the Lancashire Constabulary Welfare Committee for police dogs and horses.

Over the years they have been able to assist numerous people with the cost of veterinary expenses for their retired dogs – ranging from severe illness, minor operations to a recent share of the cost of hip replacement in a dog that was about to retire.

Sergeant Fitzgerald added: “When a police dog retires from active service, they often retire to their handler who then has to take over the financial responsibility of caring for them. In some cases, dogs are retired at a young age due to illness or injury and veterinary and medication bills can be incredibly expensive.

“Historically, some dogs have had to be re-homed when their owners couldn’t afford the bills, so the Benevolent Fund was created to assist handlers and adoptees, where necessary, so that the dog can stay with the family it loves and trusts.”

Until recently, the Benevolent Fund has had to limit its help to within Lancashire, but it is now being extended to include any retired Lancashire police dogs that are adopted out of the county where there is a need.

Sheila Maw, chair of the Retired Police Dogs Benevolent Fund, said: “We are incredibly pleased to have been able to make this memorial happen. We are also willing to assist any other county interested in setting up a similar scheme for these worthy ‘non-pensioned officers’ with four legs. Anyone interested in our work is welcome to contact any of our members – and we are always looking for volunteers! We survive solely on donations, legacies and fundraising events.”

The memorial will be unveiled at the Lancashire Constabulary Dog Unit on Wednesday 22 October 2014 at 3pm.

The Retired Police Dogs Benevolent Fund can be contacted on 01254 823136.

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