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Wigan man treks 232 miles to Downing Street to hand deliver petition on regulating online animal sales

Richard started the petition following the death of his Labrador puppy Reggie

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A Wigan man walked a massive 232 miles to Downing Street to hand deliver a petition appealing to change the law surrounding online animal sales.

Richard Ackers, from Abram, took it upon himself to bring the issue of unregulated online animal sales to parliament following the death of his Fox Red Labrador puppy Reggie. 

While Richard had bought the puppy ‘in good faith’, he was unaware that it had actually been bred in an illegal puppy farm. The animal died just days after the purchase by what was later confirmed as Canine Parvovirus, a disease with a high mortality rate in unvaccinated pups.

Reggie’s death triggered the launch of the campaign Justice For Reggie, which has since won backing from MP’s, the Home Office, celebrities and rescue organisations such as the RSPCA, along with help from volunteers across England and Wales.

The proposed law, known as Reggie’s Law, has gained over 106,000 signatures in just over twelve weeks.

But Richard decided to take things one step further; last week, he took it upon himself to bring the campaign to parliament himself by walking the 232 miles from him home directly to the doorstep at Number 10. 

He set off on his journey last Wednesday, December 1st, and reached Downing Street yesterday at around 1:30pm – the issue will now be debated in parliament on December 13th.

@justiceforreggie20 / Instagram

With his trek, Richard has also been raising money from the challenge for Hope Rescue, and will take collection for Almost Home Dog Rescue.

He said on his achievement: “I am totally blown away with the amount of support I’ve received so far in such a short space of time, if I can get the laws around animal sales looked at and strengthened then I will have achieved my one true goal of getting justice for Reggie.”

Reggie’s Law will be debated in parliament on December 13th. For more information and to donate to Richard’s chosen charities, visit the JustGiving page.

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Elon Musk says he’s ‘buying Manchester United’

The world’s richest man seemingly has his eyes set upon Old Trafford…

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Elon Musk sent football fans into a frenzy last night after announcing his plans to purchase Manchester United.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO – who has a net worth of around £200 billion, making him the richest man in the world – submitted a bid in the region of £31 billion to buy Twitter back in April, though he is now attempting to exit the deal.

At the time, Manchester United fans urged Musk to instead splash his cash on their team amid fierce protests against the club’s current owners, the Glazer family. 

And in the early hours of this morning (August 17th), Musk seemingly made those wishes come true by following up a joke about political parties in the US with the tweet: “Also, I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome”. 

While Musk is known for his tongue-in-cheek tweets, his announcement last night sparked excitement and speculation amongst Manchester United fans, who seemed to support the idea of the South African businessman running the club. 

One United supporter replied: “You have absolutely no idea the sheer amount of hope you just have to a million fans worldwide. Please do buy us though.”

Another encouraged: “If you want a real challenge in life, it’s not putting people on Mars, it’s making @ManUTD successful again. Buy out the Glazers [and] with our 600m global followers you instantly become the most popular person in the world!”

A third made a joking reference to the peculiar name Musk chose for his son, writing: “At this point, I don’t care if you rename Old Trafford as ‘X Æ A-12 Musk Stadium’. Just buy the club.”

However, a couple of hours after his initial tweet, Musk backtracked on his claim, revealing to his 103.4 million followers that he was only joking. 

Replying to a follower who asked if he was being serious, Musk wrote: “No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams.”

Though he later said if he were to buy a sports club, it would be Manchester United because ‘they were my fav [sic] team as a kid’.

Manchester United are currently bottom of the Premier League, for the first time since August 1992, after a humiliating 4-0 loss to Brentford on Saturday. 

 

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Cat owner receives threatening letter from neighbour over ‘abusive’ collar

The letter also threatened to report the owner for ‘animal abuse’

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Beth German / Facebook

A cat owner has been forced to turn to the police after her neighbour posted an anonymous letter threatening to take her pet.

Beth German, twenty-one, started letting her six-month-old kitten Elton outdoors two weeks ago and, as a way to warn any birds and animals of his presence, attached a bell to his collar.

However, upon returning to her home in Hazel Grove yesterday (August 15th), Beth was greeted with an anonymous hand-written letter from one of her neighbours, who ordered her to remove the ‘abusive’ bell or face having her kitten ‘rehomed’.

The letter read: “Take the bell off the cat’s collar or I will rehome it and report you for animal abuse.”

Beth German / Facebook

An extra note scrawled on the back of the letter added: “You wouldn’t like it if I did it to you”.

Beth said she has an inkling as to which neighbour posted the letter, noting how she’s had issues with someone stealing her bins and ‘generally being awkward’ in the past.

Her Ring Doorbell also caught the culprit in the act and, while she couldn’t see their face clearly, she said it ‘looked very much like them.’

She told Proper Manchester: “I went straight to the neighbour we’ve had issues with before and she said it wasn’t her, but I’m not convinced.”

To ensure she wasn’t ‘abusing’ her cat with the collar, Beth decided to contact her vet, who reassured her of the safety of collars on kittens and ‘laughed at such a horrendous accusation’.

Beth German / Facebook

She also rang 101 to file a report under ‘malicious threats through the post’, with the police being confused as to why anyone would pen such a letter.

Beth explained: “The police have said to keep doing what I’m doing because I’m not doing anything wrong. They said if they do it again, they’ll come out and talk to them themselves.”

Despite the police’s support on the matter, however, Beth is now too worried to let Elton or her other kitten Etta outdoors out of fear they will be taken.

Greater Manchester Police have been contacted for comment.

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Three in four Tory voters back Labour’s emergency energy plan

Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer plans to ‘freeze’ energy bills

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Number 10 / Flickr & BBC News

Three quarters of Tory voters support Labour’s emergency energy plan as they come under increasing pressure to do more to address the cost of living crisis.

Yesterday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer laid out plans for his £29 billion emergency plan to prevent energy bills rising to unprecedented costs in the next six months. 

Starmer explained that the package would be mostly paid for by a big increase in tax on oil and gas company profits, something the Conservative Party has famously failed to implement throughout the crisis. 

He also pledged to backdate the windfall tax to January, reduce inflation with lower energy bills and to drop the £400 energy rebate and other pledges made by Tory leadership candidates to raise £14 billion. 

This plan, Starmer promised, would save people £1,000 on their energy bills. 

However, while both the Tory leadership contenders – foreign secretary Liz Truss and former chancellor Rishi Sunak – have rejected Starmer’s proposal of freezing bills, reports by The Times claim that three in four Tory voters support his plan.

Energy companies have also pitched their own version of Labour’s offer, with the industry proposing a voluntary pause on bills for two years, with a promise to spread the cost of the gas price crisis over a decade or more.

The energy minister Greg Hands, meanwhile, said the Conservative government is ‘working up further options for this winter’ to present to a new prime minister, and acknowledged that ‘more is going to have to be done’. 

He also criticised Labour’s ‘magical solution to just wish it all away’, saying price increases could not be ‘abolished’ and that freezing bills would ‘inevitably lead to higher taxes’. 

Current Prime Minister Boris Johnson also warned that freezing bills is a ‘very expensive thing to do’, saying: “What [the bill freeze] does achieve is to protect everybody entirely from the increases in energy prices.

“So if that’s what you want to achieve, that’s what you need to do. But you do need to recognise that is a very expensive thing to do.”

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