A NEW group promoting responsible dog ownership raised more than £1,000 for charity at it first public event in Cradley Heath - organised just six weeks after it was formed.

The Haden Hill Dog Awareness Group has handed over the cash raised at its dog awareness day at Haden Hill Park to Hearing Dogs for the Deaf.

Last October‘s event, featuring a fun dog show, stalls and canine display teams, attracted more than 1,000 people and 200 dogs, proving such a success that a repeat is being planned for Saturday June 21.

The group was set up by six dog walkers who were concerned that dog owners were getting a ‘bad press’ because of the actions of an irresponsible minority.

Chairman Kim Wilkes, from Halesowen, said: “It was literally some local dog owners talking in the park who decided to do something to promote good dog ownership and responsibility.”

“There had been some letters in the press saying dog owners were irresponsible and dogs were out of control.

“Rather than just send a letter in reply, we wanted to show not all owners were irresponsible, in fact most are responsible and dogs are an important part of life and the community.”

An eight-strong committee was formed and news of the group has spread through its Facebook page, which has 250 members.

Its first speaker meeting will be at the Salvation Army Centre, Meredith Street, Cradley Heath, on Monday February 24, at 7.30pm, when Mrs Wilkes, a qualified dog trainer and dog psychologist, will talk about how dogs communicate with us and with each other.

She added that, with more time to plan, the dog awareness day in June will be “bigger and better” than before with dog demonstrations, children’s activities and more stalls, including charity, commercial and craft – not all dog-related.

The group also organises social dog walks and a website has been created at www.hadenhilldogawareness.co.uk