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Second success for Bark in the Park

For some time now I have been coming to the conclusion that dog owners in this country are developing a siege mentality. Whenever the anti dog brigade march over the horizon dog owners scoop up their dogs and run for cover, hoping that it won't be for long and that not too much damage is done in the meantime.

I am happy to report that is not totally the case in my hometown of Huddersfield. In excess of 150 dogs and their families turned out to support the second “Bark in the Park” Dog Fun Day on Saturday 23rd August in Ravensknowle Park, Huddersfield. These included pedigree dogs, crossbreeds and mongrels from the world of show, agility, assistance, rescue and of course the humble family pet.

Everybody joined in with the events such as the fun dog show (no pedigree classes), have a go agility, flyball and heelwork to music. There were several breed rescue organizations with stalls together with assistance charities such as PADS, PAT, Guide Dogs and Dogs for The Disabled. The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme Bronze Award was present and several local canine companies attended as well. A local Veterinary Surgery was there to microchip, carry out health checks and generally give advice.

Whilst a few quid was raised for charities the main theme of the event was “Promoting Responsible Dog Ownership.” This was done in two ways. Firstly by encouraging the dog owners themselves to adopt a responsible attitude regarding their dogs but also to promote the fact to the general public of Huddersfield that most dog owners are responsible people with dogs who are an integral part of the family. Anyone who doubts that should have been there to see the way young children were bonding with their own dog and also with dogs who were total strangers to them. Fortunately we had OUR DOGS photographer Ida Bouwhuis present to record the moments for us.

I suppose we are fortunate that our local Kirklees Council allows us to hold this event and the park staff are unstinting with their help. Two members of the organising committee are Kirklees Council Dog Wardens. I know some local councils would shudder at the very thought of such an event. We even get the local newspaper, the Huddersfield Examiner to give us publicity. I was gobsmacked at the support we got from local companies and organisations. These ranged from a major motor car dealer and a building society in the town to a local chip shop, in addition to national canine companies.

I'm not so naive as to claim we attracted the majority of dogs in Huddersfield along with their owners. Neither am I daft enough to believe that everything in the dog garden in rosey. I am also very much aware of what would happen if things went wrong at this event. But it is my firm belief that we dog owners will ignore the anti dog brigade at our peril.

It's no use pet owners sitting back smuggly and thinking they're only after the pedigree breeders. Neither should the pedigree lot think it's only the breeding issue they're after us over and the rest concerns the low life who keep truly dangerous dogs.

In Huddersfield we may not have started a revolution, but at least we've started by standing up and being counted. We are not ashamed to admit we are dog owners and proud of it. ALL dogs are seen as legitimate targets by the anti dog brigade and they will come at us from all directions. If like me you're old enough to remember the old Tennessee Ernie Ford song called Sixteen Tons then you'll remember the lines “One fist of iron, the other of steel. If the right one don't get you, then the left one will” What more can I say?

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