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Dog owners encouraged to be the eyes, ears and paws of local communities!

Dog owners in Bridgend County Borough are being encouraged to be the eyes, ears and paws of local communities in a brand new scheme aimed at tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.

Bridgend County Borough Council l has teamed up with South Wales Police and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service to launch Paws On Patrol, a pilot project aimed at encouraging dog owners to report any suspicious behaviour when they take their pooch for a mooch.

The PAWS scheme was launched on Friday, 10 April at Bridgend Fire Station by the Mayor of Bridgend County Borough, Councillor Gary Thomas, and senior officers from SWFRS and South Wales Police.

The event included opportunities for owners to give their dog a health check, to be microchipped, and to meet the professional dogs of the police and urban search and rescue teams.

Members of the public who come across criminal or anti-social behaviour such as fly-tipping and fire setting will not be expected to intervene, but are asked to simply report and gather any evidence they can. Those involved will receive a hi-visibility collar for their dogs.

Councillor Gary Thomas said: “As a dog owner myself, I am delighted to be among the first to sign up to this fantastic new scheme. I think this is a wonderful initiative between the council, the fire service, the police, and of course the local community.

“We should all aim to keep an eye out when we’re taking our dogs for a walk, and to report anything suspicious whether it’s someone fly-tipping or setting a fire. Dogs, as we know, are particularly perceptive animals and they will often see and hear things that are maybe a bit out of place before their owners do.

“This scheme is about encouraging owners to take notice of their dog’s behaviour the next time they go for a walk, and to report any suspicious behaviour to the relevant authorities.”

Sinead Tomalin-Reeves, from Top Dogs in Bridgend, added: “I think it’s a fantastic initiative. The help anyone can give to the police to stop criminal behaviour is a bonus.”

Jane Fisher, also from Top Dogs, added: “There should be more of this sort of thing going on – it encourages people to train their dogs to look out for anything unusual.”

Group Manager Garry Davies, Head of Community Safety and Partnerships at South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said: “This is a great scheme and SWFRS is delighted to be part of it alongside our partners in South Wales Police and Bridgend County Borough Council.

“As a service, we believe that collaborative working keeps our communities safe through raising awareness and reducing risk. Dog owners are able to get to areas that our crews and patrols cannot, which means that we have eyes – or paws – everywhere to ensure we continue to reduce anti-social behaviour in our communities, not only in Bridgend but across South Wales.”

The PAWS on Patrol scheme was also launched at Porthcawl Fire Station on Sunday, 12 April.

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