Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Animal Matters

After a heavily talked about TV show named the Staffordshire Bull Terrier as the UK’s favourite dog breed, White Cross Vets in Hyde has revealed how they have actually been hugely popular for more than a decade, a trend that had largely gone unnoticed until the programme aired.

ITV’s Britain’s Favourite Dogs, which was hosted by Ben Fogle and Sara Cox, polled 10,000 Brits to create a ranking of the top 100 dog breeds in the UK. The Staffordshire Bull Terrier, often referred to as the Staffie, came out top, followed by the Cockapoo in second place and the Labrador Retriever in third.

Figures from White Cross Vets confirms that Staffie puppies are one of the most common breeds the veterinary group has seen across its 19 practices in the last 12 months, along with French Bull Dogs. However, White Cross Vets also sees more Staffies than any other breed, aged over 10 years old, suggesting they were equally as popular a decade ago.

Mike Robinson from White Cross Vets in Hyde, said: “In the past Staffies have had a mixed reputation due to them being part of the Pit bull family, which led to accusations that they are an aggressive breed. However, although they might react when provoked, in the right hands they are generally extremely friendly and loving dogs. Anyone who owns one knows what fantastic pets they are and it’s great to see them being portrayed in such a positive light by this programme.

“The reality is that their popularity is nothing new. We have more Staffies, aged 10 and over, registered across our 19 practices than any other breed and we’d expect to see them continuing to grow in popularity now they’ve found TV fame. We’re delighted that after years of being the underdog, they’re finally managing to shake off their poor reputation.”

For further information about White Cross Vets, visit https://www.whitecrossvets.co.uk


As it comes into its 30th year of saving, adopting and caring for vulnerable animals of all shapes and sizes, Haywill Animal Rescue desperately needs donations.

Their appeal comes after the charity’s main sponsor was forced to stop donating £500 a month due to personal circumstances – an amount that was vital to the self-funded initiative and those it supports.

The shelter not only rescues vulnerable animals from homes and farms, but has also been providing “animal-assisted therapy” to those with special needs, mental health issues, disabilities and behavioural difficulties for eight years.

Their roster currently boasts cats, dogs, pigs, sheep, chickens, ponies, guinea-pigs and even turtles and terrapins who are looked after by the Haywill team, with some going on to be adopted by members of the public.

Over the Christmas period, Glossop’s Aldi Superstore generously donated their leftover vegetables that would have otherwise gone to bio-waste, but that supply has since run out.

Founder and Special-Needs Teacher Lynn Haydon-Williams, 58, said that the rescue is a lifeline for both people and animals, but is struggling under the financial strain.

Lynn, who also has degenerative disc disease added that the shelter is what keeps her going, admitting she’s a “soft-touch” when it comes to animals in need.

She said: “This place helps me, but it also keeps a lot of people who come here going too… it’s a real labour of love.

“We really need sponsors, general donations and even kind donations of things like fresh fruit and vegetables, bedding, horse feed and hay bales.

“Even if you can’t give money, we would love to have those who want to volunteer, there’s something for everyone here. If you can DIY, make a website or want to muck in, we care about what you can do – not what you can’t.”

If you would like to donate to Haywill Animal Rescue or find out more, you can visit their website at: https://www.haywillanimalrescue.co.uk/default.html or email: lynn@haywillanimalrescue.co.uk


GREATER Manchester has been honoured as an ‘Innovator of the Decade’ for its work to make sure pets are looked after at times of emergency.

The RSPCA has announced that the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities Civil Contingencies and Resilience Unit (CCRU) have won its most prestigious award, the Innovator of the Decade. The unit is one of just two organisations in the whole of England and Wales to ever be given the accolade.

The award is recognising the work that has been done to ensure that pets and animals are among the priority considerations during an emergency response thanks to Greater Manchester’s use of the pioneering 3Ps during evacuation and shelter planning: People, Pets, and Possessions.

In Greater Manchester a Strategic Multi-Agency Pet Evacuation Plan has been developed, giving guidance to all responding agencies on what they need to consider in relation to pets during a major emergency, including identifying space for pets in rest and evacuation centres and giving guidance for dealing with lost and left pets.

The need for a proper plan for animals in case of an emergency was highlighted in June 2012 when a large explosion seriously damaged a number of homes in Shaw in Oldham, sadly killing toddler Jamie Heaton and leading to the evacuation of nearly 250 properties.

As the explosion had taken place during the day, many residents were at work and the pets had been left behind, as people returned home, they gathered at the cordon worried about their pets and some even considered going through the cordon to get their animals.

The council started a detailed spreadsheet with a variety of information, including the details of any pets left in properties which was then used throughout the process of rescuing pets from homes and reuniting them with their owners. All the pets, including dogs, cats, hamsters, tortoises, ferrets and terrapins, were rescued and returned to their owners thanks to this method.

The incident highlighted that during emergency evacuations pets could be overlooked and that the approach across Greater Manchester for pets was varied and inconsistent, emergency services also had little plans in place for what to do. The 3Ps now ensure that pets are at the heart of our emergency response.

Kathy Oldham, Greater Manchester’s Chief Resilience Officer said: “People’s pets are very often part of the family so it is only right that at times of emergency, we look out for them as well. When people are forced to leave their homes it can be extremely stressful and making sure their pets are included in our planning can help to make things that little bit easier for people.

“It is a real honour for Greater Manchester to be given this award and we will continue to work hard to put animals at the heart of the work we do.”

The 3Ps was highlighted during the Wing Fat wholesale company fire in October 2017, which evacuated many properties. One couple with a dog attended a rest centre and could not stay with family and friends. The tactical officer from the local authority and the reception centre manager went out of their way to find the couple a pet friendly hotel and arrange transport for them.

Staff from the Unit attended a Winners Reception in London yesterday (Tuesday, November 27) to collect their award.

Rachel Williams, senior parliamentary advisor for the RSPCA, said: “The Innovator of the Decade judges wanted to recognise the unit for the 3Ps contingency planning work as they are still, so many years after the tragic gas explosion that inspired it, the country-leaders in this area.

“Their proactive approach to recognising and promoting animals in their contingency planning work is unmatched – and has a clear and tangible effect on both animal and human welfare.”

A so-called mystery killer dog disease that is prevalent during the autumn, could be prevented with a flea and tick treatment, as well as checking dogs’ paws for dust mites after walks, according to a Hyde veterinary practice.

White Cross Vets in Hyde is regularly inundated with enquiries from dog owners at this time of year who are worried about Seasonal Canine Illness (SCI), which generally strikes between September and November. The first cases of SCI were reported in 2010 and symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhoea and lethargy that will appear within 72 hours of dogs walking through woodland in autumn.

Mike Robinson, from White Cross Vets, said: “Although SCI is often making the headlines at this time of year, the reality is that it’s only a tiny percentage of dogs that become ill from it. Most medical evidence suggests that it may be caused by harvest mites that are particularly active at this time of year and latch on to a dog’s paws, legs, chest and tummy, often resembling red dust that becomes stuck in the fur.

“Whilst we always advise dog owners to be vigilant, most don’t necessarily need to change their habits in order to try to specifically avoid SCI. However, it’s useful to know that harvest mites are only active during the day, so walking dogs early in the morning or after dusk is a way of evading them. They also often lurk in long grass and vegetation, with the worst infestations happening when the dog sits still.

“It’s worth discussing with your vet whether the products you’re currently using provide appropriate protection for your pet’s needs.”

Anyone wanting further information about SCI should call White Cross Vets or visit www.whitecrossvets.co.uk


The Northern Alsatian and all Breeds Training Society,(NAABTS) based in Greenfield, is a small, friendly dog club that hosts weekly meetings in and around the Mossley/Saddleworth area where they provide dog training from puppies onwards.

NAABTS are a purely voluntary organisation who has been serving the local community by offering dog training for all breeds.

This special event is to celebrate a very important milestone in the club’s history as its 90 years old this year. There will be Fun classes, stalls, demos etc and hopefully a visit from our oldest member who is also 90!

The fun day will be held at the club on Sunday 2nd September 2018 from 10.00am till 4.00pm

Denise Byrne, Vice-President, said; “As well as all the usual stalls and attractions, we will have demonstrations running throughout the day to show people what you can learn at the club.  We also have the missing and lost animal scanners coming along who will scan dogs’ chips to check they are still in place and offer missing pet advice.

The Kingfisher pub across the road from us are also holding their Fun day, which will feature a number of fairground type attractions in order to raise funds in aid of the Oldham Mountain Rescue Team –as a big thank you from the community for all the work they did supporting Firefighters who were engaged in combating the recent moorland fires and will be demonstrating their services. So hopefully Sunday 2nd September will be a busy and enjoyable family fun day for Greenfield.”

The club is sponsored by Skinners who will be sending some donations on the day. As the club is a voluntary organisation the money raised will go towards the upkeep of the club.”

Make sure you don’t miss out on what promises to be an ever popular great day out for dog lovers and their dogs.

You can find the event in Greenfield near Tesco (OL3 7AE).



Even though our weather forecasters have warned today of torrential downpours, lightning and strong gusty winds, analyst are still predicting the strong possibility of several more weeks of hot weather. That’s why White Cross Vets in Hyde is advising pet owners to remain vigilant after seeing a surge of heatstroke cases in recent weeks. 

This follows The Met Office predicting that this summer could be the hottest since records began 108 years ago, as well as being one of the driest.

Mike Robinson from White Cross Vets in Hyde said: “Lots of pets find very hot weather difficult to deal with and this is particularly true for dogs, especially because they like to run around to exert energy.  We’ve seen several heatstroke cases in recent weeks which can be dangerous and even deadly if not treated properly.

“Signs of heatstroke in dogs include very heavy panting and drool that becomes stringy rather than watery. Their tongue can turn dark purple in colour initially and then blue as the heat stroke progresses.  In severe cases, dogs will collapse; start fitting and go into organ failure.

Dogs suffering from heatstroke are emergency cases and should be checked over by a vet immediately. Owners can take steps to encourage cooling by dousing their pet using cool, rather than very cold, water and moving them to a well-ventilated and shaded area.  Draping a wet towel over the dog’s back will also help as will placing them in the breeze of a fan.

“Nationally there are also lots of reports of dogs having to be rescued from swelteringly hot cars.  It’s vitally important to never leave a dog in a car on a warm day in any circumstances, even for a few minutes, as a dog can quickly overheat and could even die in as little as 15 minutes.”

White Cross Vets has created a list of precautions that pet owners should take during hot weather:-

  • Always make sure there is always plenty of fresh water available for pets. 
  • Never leave your dog in a hot car and if you have to take them in the car, always plan ahead to work out what you’ll do at your destination.
  • Don’t let pets stay out in the sun for prolonged periods. Make sure there are shaded areas where they can shelter from the sun, cool them down with cool water from a spray gun if needed or offer them a paddling pool to lie in.
  • Walk dogs early in the morning or late at night, avoiding the hottest part of the day.
  • Certain breeds require extra care. Particular caution is needed with short-nosed (brachycephalic) dogs such as Bulldogs or Pugs. Their nasal passages are smaller and narrower so it is more difficult for them to pant and therefore for them to circulate the sufficient air they need for effective cooling.
  • Very active dogs, overweight dogs or dogs with thick dense fur are also at a higher risk.
  • White Cross Vets have even treated dogs that have burnt their paws on hot road surfaces so be aware of how hot these can become.  If it’s uncomfortable for you to touch, it’s too hot for your dog to walk on.
  • Pets with fair skin or very thin coats can often suffer from sunburn in the same way humans do, but specially formulated sun creams are available to prevent this.


For further information about how to protect your pets in hot weather contact White Cross Vets or visit http://www.whitecrossvets.co.uk/posts/dogs-die-in-hot-cars/



The youngsters from St Thomas Leesfield CE Primary were all of a flutter when they took part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch for the second year running.

The Garden Gang at the Leesfield school saw many species including blackbird, robin, carrion crow, blue tit, great tit, pigeon and magpie.

They made pine cone feeders and hung them at their school allotment site hoping to attract the birds.

“It was lovely to see their excited faces as they spotted the different birds,” remarked Karen Jakeman, the Garden Gang leader.

The Garden Gang is a popular club with 21 members who work hard at the school allotment from March to October, growing lots of vegetables and fruits such as potatoes, carrots, onions, lettuce, rhubarb and strawberries.

The produce is then eaten by the gang and also used in school dinners.

The Garden Gang is just about to start its ninth season and the youngsters are looking forward to nurturing a healthy crop.

A Tameside veterinary practice is expanding with the opening of its third surgery following a £50,000 investment.

Tameside Veterinary Clinic opens a new branch in Stalybridge today, Monday November 13th, after taking over the lease of the former Yorkshire Bank building on Melbourne Street.

The practice, which already has surgeries in Ashton and Hyde have expanded in answer to the increasing demand from local pet owners.

Around a quarter of clients who bring their pets to their main site in Ashton are from Stalybridge, making the new surgery much more convenient.

The new surgery boasts three consult rooms, reception with separate waiting areas for cats and dogs, operating facilities and on-site parking, and will be open Monday to Friday.

The historic former bank building, which is in a conservation area, has been sympathetically restored. The cost of the renovation work and new equipment has taken the level of investment to £50,000.

New jobs, including a position for a veterinary surgeon, will be created.

The project has been overseen by Diarmuid Currid and Gavin McCoubrey. They set up Tameside Veterinary Clinic in Ashton in 2000, before opening the Hyde branch five years ago.

Mr McCoubrey said: “We know demand is there for a new surgery in Stalybridge as we already have a lot of clients from there so we will hit the ground running.

“The new surgery looks great and everything inside is new, so there will be excellent facilities and a lovely environment for clients and their pets.

“All three sites are self-contained surgeries which operate autonomously. Routine operations like neutering will take place at the new surgery, rather than at the main branch in Ashton, as it is less stressful for the patient.”

Mr McCoubrey added: “We have already had some brilliant feedback that we are regenerating a lovely old building that has been empty for years.

“It is in a conservation area in a lovely part of the town so it has been sympathetically restored.”

Tameside Veterinary Clinic is a member of VetPartners, which is made up of some of the most respected and trusted veterinary groups in the UK.

On behalf of all at Local Community Matters, we wish Diarmuid Currid and Gavin McCoubrey the very best of luck with their new business.



Following Dawn Bridgehouse bringing her guide dog to the Scout headquarters with the help of her friend Jan Eddowes, the 339th Droylsden Beavers and Cubs raised £85 to donate to Guide Dogs for the Blind charity.

During the visit, the Beavers and Cubs met guide dog Lainey who is owned by Dawn and they learned about how the specially trained dog has transformed Dawn’s life, giving her the freedom to pursue her hobbies.

Beavers and Cubs with Dawn Bridgehouse and Lainey

Dawn took time out to talk to the Beavers and Cubs about her life as a blind person, and showed them some of the gadgets that help to make her life easier and showed them how they help her in her daily life, before going on to explain how guide dogs can transform the life of someone who is blind or partially sighted.

Dawn also typed all the Beavers and Cubs names in Braille on her special Braille typewriter.

This visit was organised so that the Beavers and Cubs could learn more about coping with blindness as part of their Disability Awareness badge

Gill Cummins, the 339th Cub Scout Leader said, “For their Disability Awareness Badge, the young people have to know about different disabilities. They then research a specific disability and how they might then help someone with a disability; they decided on people with sight problems. To gain their badge, the Beavers and Cubs had to find out how blind people read, how guide dogs are trained and learn how to read their name in braille.

If you would like to help young people to gain more skills in Scouting to help others and join in the adventure of Scouting contact: alan.fish.161te@gmail.com 07931765120 or go to www.gmescouts.org.uk



Vintage cars, handmade crafts, artisan bakers, dog show, climbing wall, Punch & Judy and children’s rides – yes, there was fun for all ages at Hollingworth’s Festival on the Green last weekend! 

Glorious sunshine bathed this year’s village event which took place on Wedneshough Green.

Among the festivities Arnfield Brass Band belted out traditional music whilst acoustic covers band ‘The Wednesday Club’ and Glossop community music project ‘’Let’s Sing’ completed the live musical element.

With lots of pop-up stalls housing crafts, artisan bakers, there were also bouncy castles, slides and lots of fabulous food on offer, backed up by circus skills, pony rides, a climbing wall, an African drum workshop, the ubiquitous ‘Punch and Judy’ and a classic car show.

For dog lovers and owners, there was also a Fun Dog Show courtesy of the Tameside and Glossop branch of the RSPCA.

The annual festival which was revived in 2006 after a gap of nearly 30 years seems to gain in popularity year on year as more villagers and visitors from across the borough to turn out to show their support for this fun-filled family event.

For more information, regarding next year’s show, please contact: Mary Jessop on 01457 764299

or e-mail: mary.jessop@hotmail.co.uk