DOG owners deserve to feel safe when they are out walking their beloved pets, a concerned woman has said.

Helen Healing, from Drury, said she was inspired by Nigel King’s national Dog Horn campaign which aims to prevent dog thefts in the UK.

She told the Leader she set up her own localised group, covering Flintshire and Chester, in a bid to spread that awareness.

By using whistles, having a special code to raise awareness, walking in groups and employing various tactics, the aim of the campaign is to raise confidence in fellow dog owners so that they can walk their dogs outside.

Helen said: “I came across the campaign and it just caught my eye. It’s very much about prevention and it gave me the confidence to go out and walk my dogs with a body cam and an alarm.

“They have a whole host of good ideas. I do word of mouth so when I’m out on a walk I will tell people about it and there are so many who are concerned and wanting to join.

“There’s so much apprehension amongst dog owners of having their dogs stolen and it’s disproportionate to the chance of losing your pet.

“So many are worried and concerned. When you think about how many dogs there are in the country and how many are stolen, it’s probably only a small fraction, but nobody wants it to be their dog.

“Drury is a village where if you blew the whistle, someone would come. There is a strong community spirit, you don’t feel like you’re walking alone and that’s what is important, that’s why I got involved.”

Helen’s friend Karen Jones has also set up a local group covering Bangor-on-Dee and Llangollen and the local communities have rallied behind the campaign.

Helen told the Leader that prevention is key and feeling safe when out walking your dog is a must.

She added: “The prevention side of it is so important. You see so much being shared on social media of stolen dogs and police trying to find owners, it is worrying.

“People are hooked on getting the dogs back home and rightly so but Dog Horn is all about prevention. It’s terrible the lengths we have to go to, but dogs are the new laptop.

“Laptops were once valuable and you wouldn’t leave them unattended, dogs are valuable you just have to take greater steps to protect them.

“Dog thefts are on the rise. Years ago you could leave your dog outside a shop whilst you nipped inside and no-one would take them but now they would.

“If you had your laptop stolen you’d be annoyed but you’d replace it, dogs are like part of the family, you want to know where they are and if they are alright. We are a nation of animal lovers.”

Helen said she wants to raise awareness and help increase confidence and safety in her village and surrounding areas.

She said: “We are an anxious nation, even more so after this pandemic. If you are already anxious then thoughts of losing your dog can feel so much bigger. I meet a lot of people like that.

“I’m very grateful for the support from Susan and Lester from Lester’s Farm Shop in Drury, they have been very supportive of the local DogHorn campaign.

“They are selling DogHorn whistled on a not for profit basis and have allowed Thieves Beware posted to be put up on their property.”

More information about the national campaign can be found online at

To join Helen’s group visit or to join the Bangor-on-Dee group visit