Fireworks cause distress

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Many of us enjoy the experience of fireworks, especially when it comes to ringing in the New Year, but for our dogs it’s often a terrifying and confusing experience.

Dogs have approximately four times more sensitive hearing than humans, and also have a more extensive range of hearing – they can hear much higher frequency sounds than we can - so just imagine how loud a firework bang is for a dog.

The smells and flashing lights of fireworks are also unusual for dogs and can cause extreme distress to our four-legged friends. Fireworks tend to be sudden, unpredictable and bright. This combination of effects can often have a profoundly negative, and in many cases, lasting impact on dogs. We would urge anyone thinking of putting on a fireworks display to consider their four-legged friends and give notice to owners in the area to ensure they can make plans to keep their dog safe and happy.

Further information and advice for dog owners can be found at www.dogstrustdogschool.org.uk

Dr Rachel Casey

Dogs Trust Director of Canine Behaviour and Research

Fish wriggling on a hook

As a member of the Sheffield community who has twice voted for Dr Alan Billings to be our Police and Crime Commissioner, I am fully supportive of the work he is doing on our behalf, and for his decision that it would not be appropriate for him to further fund Mr Duckenfield’s latest request for legal aid costs in relation to his involvement in the Hillsborough football disaster.

However, I am disappointed to perceive his response to a simple question of “have the legal aid costs for the South Yorkshire police force/personnel come from the police budget?” – as being likened to a fish wriggling on a hook.

In the SYPCC website factsheet regarding funding of Hillsborough costs, it clearly states that the PCC’s only involvement in the Hillsborough inquests has been to provide financial support where obliged to do so, for those requiring legal representation because they were “interested persons” as designated by HM Coroner.

In addition, a number of current and former officers were granted financial assistance in respect of their reasonable legal costs by the PCC because of his obligations under the Home Office Circular 43/2001, and related case law.

One of these officers was former Chief Superintendent Duckenfield – the match commander.

Dr Billings decided in December 2014 to continue financial assistance, but to seek to limit the level of that funding, challenging both the scale of the fees and the invoiced work.

I presume that this is a reason for his refusal to pay the latest request and I fully support his stance.

In his December 23, 2017 letter he now states that the money for the police officers legal costs came from “local resources, though some of it was subsequently reimbursed by the Home Office.”

As the PCC has the responsibility for setting the police budget, should not those “local resources” be classed as part of that budget as they presumably did not come from Government/Legal Aid Agency coffers.

Because of the considerable documented evidence, including his own Factsheet, supporting past/current payment of officers legal costs being made, Dr Billings would retain my support and admiration if he simply acknowledged these payments being made, and consider that rather than there being no impact on local resources – this money has been a drain on a police budget for which he and his predecessor must take responsibility.

Cyril Olsen

Busk Meadow, Sheffield, S5

Doomed attempt

Not only will the new UK passports be the wrong shape and size but, instead of a proper dark blue, they are to be produced in a shade akin to that of Scotland’s national flag, (the Saltire).

I can only presume that this is a doomed attempt by Mrs May’s government to appeal to Scottish National Party voters.

John Eoin Douglas

by email

What does it achieve?

I have never owned a blue passport, but listening to the callers on the radio about the replacing of burgundy passports they were proclaiming that it was a victory for Britain after Brexit.

Some of these silly Billies were going to chuck their perfectly good burgundy ones away to get the sacred blue ones.

Well, if you can afford to waste that amount on a passport when the old one is perfectly fine then that’s up to you.

But really, in the grand scheme of things, turning blue, what does it achieve?

Nowt, as far as I can see.

Jayne Grayson

by email

Who gives a hoot?

Does anybody give a hoot about what colour the UK passport is going to be?

It could be sky blue pink and nobody would notice.

The money would be better spent on reducing the cost to applicants who I’m sure would welcome a reduction in the over-inflated price.

EB Warris

by email

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