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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April, 2005, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Stray dog classes held at schools
Stray dog
The charity has 1,000 stray dogs from Wales every year
Wales is one of the worst parts of the UK for stray dogs, according to an animal charity.

The Dogs Trust, which takes in 1,000 strays in Wales alone, is holding classes in Welsh primary schools to teach children about responsible dog ownership.

The charity said there were a number of reasons for the problem including poor knowledge of looking after pets.

Classes have been offered free to schools and are curriculum based.

Mark Goodman, one of four education officers who work for the charity in the UK, has been running classes in schools in south Wales.

"It is about trying to get the message across to children about what it takes to look after a dog and maybe they will take that message home with them," he said.

Mr Goodman, who is based at the charity's Bridgend shelter said that Wales has been identified as having one of the worst problems of stray dogs in the UK.

"Hopefully these classes will help children to understand what it takes to look after a pet and they will take that message home with them."

Children from Milton Infant School
Workshops are offered to children about pet ownership

Hollie Sevenoaks, the youth education manager for the charity said that the classes were an effective way of getting the message of responsible dog ownership to the public.

"The aim of the workshop is to educate children about what it takes to look after a dog and get them thinking about why it is important for the dog to be micro chipped for example," she said.

"This way, the child will go home and will spread that message which then will get the parent thinking about it too," she added.

Schoolchildren at Milton Infant School in Newport took part in the workshops offered by the charity.

Headteacher Sue Wilson said: "We are a very caring school and we think it is very important to teach children about the importance of looking after pets."

Northern Ireland and the North West and North East of England are other problem areas, with a total of 12,000 taken in by the charity each year.

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