A unique memorial for Lancashire Constabulary police dogs that have passed away has been officially unveiled.
Funded by the Retired Police Dogs Benevolent Fund, which was established in 2004 by Ribble Valley woman, Mrs Sheila Maw, to support handlers in caring for their retired dogs, the memorial was unveiled at the Force’s Dog Unit.
Dog Trainer Sgt Neil Fitzgerald said: “Police dogs are an integral part of operational policing within Lancashire and provide an invaluable service to our county; therefore it is right that they should be recognised by way of this memorial.
“The names of those police dogs which have passed away will be added to the memorial so that the people who knew and loved them can visit and pay their respects. We are very grateful to the Benevolent Fund for making this happen.”
The people behind the Retired Police Dogs Benevolent Fund are a small group of animal welfare supporters, some of whom are members of the Lancashire Constabulary Welfare Committee for police dogs and horses. Over the years they have been able to assist numerous people with the cost of veterinary expenses for their retired dogs – ranging from severe illness, minor operations to a recent share of the cost of hip replacement in a dog that was about to retire.
Sgt Fitzgerald added: “When a police dog retires from active service, they often retire to their handler who then has to take over the financial responsibility of caring for them. The Benevolent Fund was created to assist handlers and adoptees, where necessary, so that the dog can stay with the family it loves and trusts.”
Sheila Maw, chair of the Benevolent Fund, said: “We are incredibly pleased to have been able to make this memorial happen. We are also willing to assist any other county interested in setting up a similar scheme for these worthy ‘non-pensioned officers’ with four legs. Anyone interested in our work is welcome to contact any of our members – and we are always looking for volunteers. We survive solely on donations, legacies and fund-raising events.”
L-R Sgt Neil Fitzgerald, Sheila Maw, Gail Stanley, a patron of the Benevolent Fund and Pauline Clare, former Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary. (s)