Wigan dog owner warns of dangers of litter to pets

Laura Douglass with her dog Elly
Laura Douglass with her dog Elly

A dog owner is cleaning up rubbish-festooned open land which could harm canines and using it to raise money for an animal rescue charity.

Laura Douglass became aware of how much waste was around the fields, towpaths and streets of Ince when she started walking there regularly with her puppy Elly.

Elly near some litter

Elly near some litter

As an inquisitive young dog Elly began trying to play with bottles, cans and other discarded objects and Laura was worried her paws or face could be injured.

Her worries were increased dramatically when she began to find drug paraphernalia in one particular field.

She decided to start litter picking and as interest in her exploits grew on social media came up with the idea of collecting donations for Paws to the Rescue, the organisation through which she rescued Elly from a life of misery in Spain and brought her to the UK.

Laura, of Cecil Street, said: “When we brought Elly from Spain she was new to absolutely everything and very inquisitive as you would expect from a puppy.

“She spent her first few walks chewing plastic bottles, trying to eat cans. She thought anything that had been thrown away was the best game.

“I got fed up picking litter out of her mouth so I started taking plastic bags out with me and doing litter picking.

“There’s a field near my house which I know as The Rec and it is horrendous for litter.

“You find all the things you would expect but there have also been needles.

“I’m trying not to pick those up even though I’ve got rubber gloves.

“It’s a big concern when you’re walking dogs.

“I just don’t understand what goes through people’s heads because some of the fields are an absolute state.

“I think it’s just about all of us being responsible for our own litter, picking it up and doing our bit.”

Laura has also been walking along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal with Elly and her other dog Charlie finding bottles and other rubbish flung away.

She put her efforts online and is now offering to spend at least an hour picking up rubbish for every £50 donated to Paws for the Cause.

So far she is more than half way to her first goal of raising £300 for the animal rescue organisation.

Elly is a shortening of the name Eleven as she was the 11th of 14 puppies in the brood found abandoned by the charity.

She is now unwittingly acting as something of a mascot for the charity which helped her.

Laura said: “I’ve been using her cute face for the fund-raising to get the donations coming in.

“She’s doing her part for her friends in Spain who don’t yet have their forever homes.”

To find out more about Laura’s fund-raising or donate, visit www.gofundme.com/litter-picking-for-paws-for-the-cause