A DONATION scheme to help homeless people to look after their dogs whilst on the streets is set to start in Denbigh and Ruthin this month.

OWL Cymru, the Mold Police Station based neighbourhood watch group for vulnerable people in north Wales, will launch the new scheme under its Dog Watch branch to help homeless dog-owners and their pets who are in need of help during winter.

The charity will make helping street dogs its responsibility for the first time this year, with donations already taken in from residents in Denbigh and Ruthin, as well as Rhyl and Wrexham.

It is hoped the donation scheme will become a permanent service for homeless dog-owners across north Wales.

Tracy Brown, chair of OWL Cymru Dog Watch, the group's support service for dog owners and their pets, has called for donations to the scheme for the dogs who are often homeless people's only family because "nobody else will listen".

She said: "We accept anything that dog-owners no longer want - coats, blankets, toys, leads and collars. They will help to keep the dogs warm as the cold weather comes in.

"These are the dogs belonging to homeless people - their owners want to look after them but cannot afford to. It's nobody's fault that they are in that situation and their owners will often sacrifice their own food. It has even been known that the owners will shoplift just for their pets, because they cannot afford to feed them - that is how far their love and loyalty goes.

"Often for homeless people a dog is their only family; nobody else will listen and the dog does it all. They just sit there and listen.

"Homeless charities look after the people but they cannot always afford to or have the resources to look after the dogs, whereas we have all the items with us."

Ms Brown, a dog owner herself, came up with the idea before Christmas when most people were enjoying valuable family time.

She said: "I was thinking about how to help over Christmas and I thought, 'what about the dogs?'

"I put the message out on social media, which can be very helpful with getting word out, especially when it's a good cause.

"There has been great support and we have had a lot of donations from the towns, they are such lovely communities.

"Some people have even gone to buy sacks of food, which we have divided into smaller packs so that they are easier to carry."

The service will first visit Denbigh during the week starting January 7, and Ruthin during the week starting January 14.

Ms Brown continued: "We're working by word of mouth as we find out where the donations are most needed. We will start on Denbigh high street and Ruthin centre and, once we know where to go, it will become easier.

"We want to make the scheme available all year round in north Wales with both summer and winter donation campaigns."

If you know someone who needs the service, or would like to donate, contact Ms Brown by calling 07841879149 or OWL Cymru by emailing watch@owlcymru.org