Fundraiser launched for Street Paws team providing free food and care for dogs of Leeds homeless

A fundraiser has been launched for a charity which offers free care and treatment for the dogs of Leeds' homeless.
The Street Paws team during an outreach visitThe Street Paws team during an outreach visit
The Street Paws team during an outreach visit

Staff at Newfox, an IT and security company based in Morley, will spend a night on the streets during the Manchester CEO Sleepout to raise money for the vital work of Street Paws.

Launched in Newcastle in 2016, the Street Paws team started outreach work in Leeds the following year.

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On the first Thursday of every month, Leeds volunteers fill a van with vital medicines and flea treatment, as well as food, toys and dog coats.

They treat dogs on City Square before walking through the city centre, offering vet care to dogs they spot on the streets.

The vets and nurses will give the dogs a health check, administering vaccines, pre-worm treatment and microchips, while volunteers chat to their owners and identify any further support that might be needed.

Dogs identified as needing further treatment or surgery will be taken to Street Paws partners at Beechwood Vets.

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Fiona Willis, the charity's operations assistant, said the dogs are often a lifeline for homeless people, providing them with unwavering support and getting them through each day.

She said: "Homelessness is something that’s always bothered and upset me and I realise it’s a complicated issue - it’s often much harder than just getting someone a house.

“The dogs are such a support for them, they’re so good for their mental health, they protect you and don’t judge the mistakes you may have made. They just love you.

“That’s why we do it, as the dogs are so important to these people.

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"We find that they will often feed their dog before they feed themselves and it’s what keeps them going every day.”

Like many charities in Leeds, Street Paws has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic as it struggles to fund its services without fundraising events and campaigns.

Fiona said she is "thrilled" that the Newfox team have chosen to support Street Paws as they take part in the CEO Sleepout in Manchester on November 2.

Fiona added: “Support like this is incredibly important, a lot of our major fundraising events like the Great North Run haven’t happened this year.

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"Everyone is a bit short of money or worried about the future, it’s been hard on all charities.

"Newfox doing the sleepout is massive and we really can’t thank them enough.

"I’ve done a sleepout and you still have no idea what it’s like for people on the streets, as cold as it is you’re going back to a warm bed.

"But it’s not an easy way of fundraising, it’s not a fun night and it certainly makes you think about how difficult it is for people on the streets."

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Laura Collins