A homeless man who was worried about his dog has been helped by the council’s patrol officers.
Mike, who is homeless, was concerned that his beloved spaniel Bonnie could fall behind with her vaccinations and become ill. The borough council’s uniformed patrol officers got in touch with Street Vet, a charity that helps homeless people take care of their pets. They arranged her veterinary care.
Mike said: “Bonnie is everything to me, she is all I’ve got. She keeps me going, we keep each other going. It really does mean the world to me that people were willing to help us. I don’t need to worry so much now, if Bonnie needs help, help is there. It is so important, especially when you are both homeless that they stay well, especially in this weather. I want to thank Street Vet for their kindness to us.”
The patrol officers, who began work this autumn under a new Community Safety Accreditation Scheme, have also received a large donation of dog food from Pets at Home, which is available at homeless charity the Lantern in Ranelagh Road.
Senior Patrol Officer Karoline, said: “I first met Mike and Bonnie sleeping rough about eight months ago. Bonnie is such a sweet well behaved girl and always happy to see me. Mike takes care of her really well, keeping her clean and knot free, exercised, warm and up to weight.
‘Mike takes good care of her’
“I am glad we’ve been able to help them and alleviate worry. Living on the streets is a hard life for anyone, especially with the anxiety and worry of keeping a beloved companion in tip top condition.
“Sadly, having a pet can make it much harder for someone to find accommodation. The owner may be eligible for housing, but a dog may not be accepted. In many cases the bond is so deep that a homeless person will choose the company of their pet above a roof over their heads. They’ll turn down accommodation and just hope that something else comes up, where they can be together. I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I failed to recognise this and didn’t listen and help where possible.”
‘I will keep hoping for our own place’
Mike added: “I have met so many wonderful people in Weymouth, made some friends and even been offered some work when we manage to get on our feet again. I’m hoping Bonnie and I can stay and make a positive contribution to the area, I will keep hoping for our own place in Weymouth one day.”
The scheme covers a wide area and the patrols tackle anti-social behaviour by deterring, educating and enforcing. The scheme is managed by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, who have worked with Dorset Police, the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, British Transport Police, Dorset County Council and Weymouth BID to set it up.
The patrol officers have the power to gather evidence and be involved in the enforcement of Community Protection Notices, which place restrictions on individuals that persistently act in an anti-social manner. Their role isn’t directly to help the homeless. This is done by an outreach team, a service currently provided for the borough council by Julian House. However, they do engage with homeless people and work with other agencies to try and signpost them to services that can help them get off the streets.
Mike Byatt, Community Safety Briefholder at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “I am glad that Bonnie and Mike have been helped. Weymouth is a fantastic town with a lively day and night time economy. We are working hard to make it even safer for people to enjoy.”
More information about community safety is available here: