The number of stray and abandoned dogs in the UK is at an eleven year high with over 120,000 dogs abandoned this year. With so many losing their homes rescue centres are all at full capacity and some dogs are being euthanised by local authorities who just have no room to keep them.
As ambassador to the annual Pedigree Adoption Drive I have been very busy this week launching the drive over radio, TV and printed press and the common question asked is: Why are numbers so high?
Many people are putting it down to the recession and I am sure that it is playing a role with people losing their jobs or homes. Also many people’s circumstances change so they suddenly have to spend long hours at work leaving dogs home alone. However, one problem that I think is having a huge effect is the rise in so-called ‘status dogs’. Breeds such as staffies and staffy crosses that people take on purely for the machismo of owning a ‘muscle’ breed of dog. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are usually the most delightful family pets but if not properly trained or socialised can soon become a handful and find themselves pushed out of the home. With people not getting these animals neutered we are also inundated with litters of pups with few people willing to take them on because of their poor reputation. Watford alone has a waiting list of over 50 staffy-type dogs waiting for a space in their rescue centre and struggle to find appropriate homes for them as many require additional behavioural work to allow them to fit into a new home environment.
I would urge you all to spread the word about this problem and if you are considering taking on a new dog or know someone else who is - please think seriously about taking on a rescue. Not only will you rescue the dog you take home but you will also free a kennel space for another dog, effectively rescuing two dogs. Always visit a reputable rescue centre (preferably a member of the Association of Dog and Cat Homes ADCH) who will make sure your new pooch has been microchipped, neutered, vaccinated, flea’d and wormed and will also give you behavioural back-up while he or she settles in.
She’s a gorgeous friendly young dog that will hopefully spend the next 14-16 years as someone’s best friend.
Please visit www.pedigreeadoptiondrive.com to see how you can help dogs like Pixie.