New homelessness strategy recognises pet dogs are part of the family in Rotherham

Dog's life: Rotherham Council will look after homeless hounds alongside their owners in future
Dog's life: Rotherham Council will look after homeless hounds alongside their owners in future

A new strategy for dealing with homelessness in Rotherham recognises dogs’ status as man’s best friend and they will receive the same care as their human counterparts in future.

Until now, the council has relied on arrangements with kennels businesses to provide emergency accommodation for pets when they owners have been made unexpectedly homeless in the town.

But the council is now increasing numbers of emergency ‘crash pads’ for people needing instant accommodation and some of those will be ‘dog friendly’ to allow homeless hounds to stay with their family.

Members of Rotherham Council’s ruling Cabinet were told by officer Sandra Tolley: “We have 50 crash pads and the intention is to set up two for people who have pets.

“If anyone becomes homeless in the night, they will be able to access accommodation,” she said.

“Currently we use kennels where there are agreements in place.

“It is upsetting and a pet is part of the family,” she said.

The homes will vary from normal temporary accommodation, using floor surfaces and furniture which can easily be cleaned, to ensure they are suitable for all potential users.

“The next person in may be allergic to dogs,” she said.

The council is updating its policy towards dealing with homelessness and rough sleeping in the town and has seen an increase in numbers who have found themselves without a home in recent years.

Staff used to check on the welfare of rough sleepers are also being maintained, despite a grant which was used to pay for the service initially being exhausted, because it is recognised the help they provide is of value.