Letter: Dogs are a lifeline for the homeless

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The Independent Online
Sir: The National Canine Defence League (NCDL) - the UK's largest dog welfare charity - was delighted to read about Lady Apsley's support for Oliver Lomasney and his dog, Ryan ("And now, for a change, good news to prove that people have a heart", 17 January). The piece highlighted the importance of homeless people having a companion animal, often a lifeline and only friend.

The NCDL Hope Project provides preventive veterinary health care (vaccinations, worming and neutering) at its monthly outreach clinics to ensure that the dogs on the streets benefit from good care, regardless of their owners' circumstances. These dog-owners are amongst the most caring and their pets are very well looked after.

Often homeless people cannot find accommodation that allows pets, forcing the owner to make an agonising decision between losing their dog or getting a roof over their head. Understandably, many people cannot bear to part with their best friend.

CLARISSA BALDWIN

NCDL Chief Executive

London EC1

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