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(Updated 26/03/01)

Now Foot & Mouth forces charity to cancel open day

WITH THE Foot & Mouth outbreak reaching epidemic proportions, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People has regrettably felt it necessary to cancel its Reunion and Open Days, due to be held on June 2nd and 3rd.

Important biennial diary dates for both fundraising and awareness, the events could potentially pull in crowds of more than 6,000 people to The Grange in Buckinghamshire. But the Charity’s pet sheep Pippin, Tog and Mildred live at The Grange and it is for their health that Hearing Dogs feel it necessary to cancel the events.

Pippin and Tog have been with Hearing Dogs since young lambs and were hand reared by members of staff. At the ripe old age of 11 years, Mildred was adopted by the Charity when her mate sadly died leaving her a lone sheep in an orchard. The three have become an essential part of the training work to socialise hearing dogs with farm animals.

Tony Blunt, Hearing Dogs’ director general said, “In nearly twenty years of Open Days we have never had to cancel. But Pippin, Tog and Mildred’s health and welfare are as important to the Charity as that of our dogs. If Foot & Mouth is still rife in June, we could not put them at any increased risk. As we get closer to the events, it becomes more and more difficult and costly to cancel, As a charity we couldn’t possibly absorb this cost.
“Everyone involved is as disappointed as are the many friends and supporters who look forward to the Country Fayre Open Day. But under the circumstances we feel there is no alternative.

“In 2002 Hearing Dogs For Deaf People will be celebrating its 20th anniversary and hosting a similar, if not more splendid event in early summer. We hope that the public appreciated our decision and we look forward to opening our doors to them once again.”