New outreach visits teach responsible dog ownership and safety around dogs

Local primary school children are benefitting from new outreach visits about responsible dog ownership and safety around dogs.

Working with the charity Blue Cross, Selby District Council officers are visiting St Joseph’s Primary School in Tadcaster, Longman's Hill Primary School in Selby and Camblesforth Primary School to discuss these important issues in a fun and accessible way.

The forthcoming visits are part of a programme of outreach activities to support the local community and engage with local families and future pet owners.

Neighbourhood Officer Emma Walton explained: “We’re making sure our joint visits with Blue Cross link closely to the Early Years Curriculum so benefit the school, support the teachers and above all are really engaging for the pupils to learn about what responsible dog ownership looks like.

“Educating the dog owners of the future and working in the local community like this is a great way to encourage the positives of owning a dog and positive behaviour such as always picking up after your pet.”

Lois Crump, Blue Cross volunteer added: “Blue Cross is a charity dedicated to the welfare of animals – established in 1897, we provide veterinary care, find homes for pets in need and offer expert behavioural help, advice and support for pet owners.  Blue Cross also believes that education is an essential contributor to animal welfare, and has delivered an education programme in schools and youth groups since 2005, teaching young people about the welfare needs of pets, people/pet relationships and being safe around dogs.

“I have been giving presentations to local schools and community groups for several years and they have always been enthusiastically received, with the children very keen to take part.  The feedback has been very positive.”

Mr Tom Rich, headteacher of Barlow Church of England Primary School which has also had a visit from Emma and Lois, added: “These sessions were hugely enjoyed by our pupils who loved hearing about how they can behave safely about dogs and learn about how to be part of a great dog owning family. We know pupils will take their learning home with them which also benefits the wider community.”

Cllr Tim Grogan, the lead executive member for health and culture, commented: “These visits are a fantastic way to get these important messages out to the dog owners of the future. The pupils will also take home their learnings to share with their family and friends which will help us all work together to promote responsible dog ownership, safety and, importantly, picking up after your dog.”

Emma and Lois have already visited some schools in the district and if any schools are interested in arranging future visits, they should email