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The future’s in their hands

Bull breed dog

Blue Cross and County Durham Youth Offending Service have teamed up in a new initiative to tackle the issues surrounding status dogs and young people, through the pet charity’s RespectaBULL workshops….

“Many of the young people and families we work with are dog owners, with some having what are often referred to as status pets,” says Lynne Tully, pratice improvement officer for County Durham Youth Offending Service.

“Working with Blue Cross to deliver the RespectaBULL workshops is a great way to help them understand how to be a responsible dog owner and how to stay on the right side of the law.”

One young person who attended the course told us it had really made them think about the best ways to care for dogs: “The talk was good and I learned a lot about the laws about keeping dogs, like they have to be chipped and what are banned breeds. It also made me think about what dogs need and how to care for them well. I liked that there was a dog as part of the course.”

So far, we’ve run two workshops together with the area’s youth offending service, which aim to empower young people to care for their dog and build safer communities.

Helen Spicer, Blue Cross Education Officer, delivers the workshops with the help of her Irish Wolfhound, Bramble.

She explained: “There are preconceptions of both bull breed dogs - often associated with anti-social behaviour - and their owners. Working with the youth offending service enables us to engage with young people, many of them dog owners, who might be at risk of offending. It’s great to be able to reach this group of young people directly and hopefully make a difference both for them and their pets.”

95,000 children and young people reached with our talks last year

Inspired by large numbers of unwanted bull breed dogs like Staffordshire bull terriers, Blue Cross’s RespectaBULL workshops aim to reach young pet owners and potential owners with messages about how to care for their dogs and be responsible owners, to help dispel the negative image often surrounding them.

The sessions are aimed at 11 to 25-year-olds and use hard-hitting videos and case studies to stimulate discussion and debate on issues surrounding dog ownership.

“The workshops also give young people the chance to take part in group discussions which can help them to build relationships, challenge their views and opinions on issues and boost their self-confidence,” added Lynn.

Find out more and book a free workshop for your youth group or school on our website.

Bull breed dog at a Blue Cross respectabull talk

— Page last updated 9/09/2016