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PRO Dogs to close

After 28 years of operation the charity PRO Dogs is to cease activities in the new year. The charity was founded by Lesley Scott-ordish in 1976 at a time when there little or no organisations representing the world of pedigree dogs.

In a letter to members CEO Mike Findlay says: ‘It is with the greatest sadness that I write to tell you that, after some 28 very productive years of active operation, the Board of Trustees of PRO Dogs decided at their meeting on 27 July to wind up the charity by 1 January 2005.

‘Lesley Scott-Ordish founded PRO Dogs in 1976 because dogs were getting bad press and no one - absolutely no one was fighting on behalf of them or their owners. She laid a foundation that has totally refocused our perceptions and the work of every organisation that is involved with canine welfare or provides services for dogs.

‘Prior to 1976 there were no PAT Dogs, no Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, no Dogs for the Disabled and no Canine Partners for independence. Support dogs were unheard of there was no Scruffs, no Wag and Bone Show, no commercially backed award ceremonies, no gold medal awards, no National Pet Week, no Discover Dogs, no Good Citizen Award Scheme, no dog wardens, no Pet Advisory Council, no Companion Animal Welfare council and no Kennel Club Press Office.

‘The major trade organisation such as the Pet Care Trust, the Pet food manufacturers association were just trade organisations and did nothing to protect dogs or encourage dog owners.

‘Prior to 1976, the large animal charities did their rescue work in their own areas and had virtually no contact with other organisations. There was no association of dogs and cats homes and no dog legislation advisory group. The idea of companion animal studies and the advantages of dog and pet ownership, the educators programme, the importance of companionship and support for bereaved owners that led to the setting up of the society for companion animal studies were all unknown.

‘Lesley had a vision and many were sceptical when she launched PRO Dogs, but she has been completely vindicated. True, it was a long and hard battle and she devoted her life to it - she was incredibly successful and totally achieved her objectives.

‘The Trustees reasons for their decision are:

‘1 PRO Dogs has more than achieved its original objectives. On-going activities can be entrusted to other organisations which have much greater resources.

‘2 Despite all efforts over the past few years to attract new membership, these have proved fruitless and membership numbers have stagnated

‘3 Commercial support has almost evaporated; the Charity has depended on sponsorship for the breed and obedience stakes classes, advertising in the twice-yearly ARGOS magazine and events such as our Annual Luncheon.

‘4 PRO Dogs is NOT insolvent; sale of our property holdings in Kent will ensure that all financial commitments to staff, suppliers, etc will be met in full’.

The PRO Dogs Luncheon and ‘Dog of the Year’ Final will be held at Sandown Racecourse on Sunday 12 December, as usual and will be a very special celebration commemorating the work of PRO Dogs over the years.