Halloween revellers are being urged not to approach homeless people and their pets while wearing fancy dress costumes for fear it could make the homeless dogs stressed and anxious.
Michelle Southern, founder of Street Paws, a UK charity that supports pet owners who are homeless, says seeing people in spooky outfits is terrifying for dogs.
Michelle said, “It’s scary enough being homeless and not only being worried about your own safety but your pet as well.
“But at Halloween, it’s even more stressful for homeless people as there are so many revellers out in fancy dress costumes.
“For a dog living on the street, they have no idea why people are dressed up, and it can make them very stressed and anxious if people run up and shout and try to scare them.”
Street Paws support homeless dogs and have also helped several cats in 18 cities and towns across the UK with 150 vets and nurses who give health checks, flea and worming treatment and vaccinations to the dogs.
The charity was founded in Newcastle in 2016 by Michelle, 48, a former Vets4Pets practice manager after she recognised that while there were soup kitchens for homeless people, there wasn’t the same support for their pets.
Michelle added, “Winter is a difficult time for our clients and their animals with the cold weather, fireworks and Halloween and Christmas parties making many city centres intimidating places.
“We understand that people want to celebrate and have fun, we just ask that they are considerate to the animals and their owners and leave them alone and don’t set off fireworks near them.
“If they do want to help, ask if they would like a warm drink or some water or food for their dog. Sometimes showing a little kindness by simply stopping to say hello is enough to lift their spirits.”