RSPCA bans volunteer’s dog for public’s safety

A VOLUNTEER, who had worked for the RSPCA for 16 years, has described the charity’s decision to ban her dog from walking around one of its shops while she works, as ‘health and safety gone mad’.

Trish Tolley had taken her nine-year-old Collie Cross, Max, in with her ever since he was a puppy, much to the delight of customers who would feed him when visiting the store.

But new regulations mean he will only be allowed in the back office - despite customers being freely allowed to bring their dogs into the store.

Branch secretary Rita Hinton said such measures had to be taken in case a dog attacked someone, which would leave the charity legally responsible. She admitted there had been no previous incidents at the Waterloo Street shop.

But Ms Tolley and one of her colleagues, who worked there up to three times a week, have both resigned in protest of the decision to ban the dog from the shop floor.

She said: “Customers are allowed in with a dog but when I am working I’m not allowed Max. I have customers who come in to see him and he is going to be sorely missed.

“I feel very upset for the people who come in and ask to see him and I just really want to say thank you to them.”

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Customer Iris Jones said she used to love feeding Max, adding: “Political correctness and health and safety has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.”

Ms Hinton said the decision had to be made before the RSPCA found itself in difficulty and came after a similar ruling had been made in Halifax.

She said: “Customers are legally responsible for their dogs. But if someone is serving in the shop they cannot keep an eye on them. It is not a draconian measure. We feel it is safer for the dogs and safer for the public.

“We rely very heavily on our shops to generate income and are very aware of the sterling work that our volunteers do to help us to continue with our much-needed welfare work in the locality.”

Ms Hinton said she would be in contact with Ms Tolley over the matter in the near future.