People are dumping their dogs like never before
Guardian Newspaper On-line - Thursday 8th January 2012
The animal-rescue charities are overwhelmed and 20 dogs are being put down in the UK every day
Michelle Hanson reports
I've just found out something horrible. Twenty dogs a day are put down in the UK – that's nearly one an hour. In the past 12 months, 7,121 were put to sleep.
Every week council wardens send a list of abandoned dogs to the rescue centres to see if they can take them in. The rescuers make a selection. For the dogs that are not chosen, it's curtains.
At a small dog-rescue charity, All Dogs Matter in London, Ira Moss is showing me her latest list from the local pound. Each dog has a picture and a writeup. It has only seven days to find a safe space in a shelter: if it doesn't find one, it will be put to sleep. "See this little chap," she says. "He's just another brindle staffie cross. He doesn't stand much of a chance."
I've heard of one warden who is almost overwhelmed with the misery of it all. It's no fun for vets either. Someone has to kill these dogs. The rescuers can't take them all. They've run out of space. Because people are dumping their dogs like never before – 126,176 abandoned in the past year. Especially staffies and staffie crosses, bred by people who don't know what they're doing, bought by people who don't know what they're getting, then dumped.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has a "friendly, loving" staffie called Cleo who is about to spend her second Christmas there, bought by someone on Gumtree, dumped again after only 24 hours. Thank you Gumtree, for helping live dogs to be sold online, by heaven knows who. I looked yesterday. There are dogs priced from £1,000 to £1. There was a sandy-coloured dog pictured. It said: "Dog – £1." It looked a good dog, but no one wanted it and any fool could have it. And this is a living dog. So are all the other dogs and vast numbers of bull-breed crosses advertised on Gumtree for free, making it easier for the irresponsible to flog dogs like bits of furniture.
Make it more difficult for them by joining the Get Gumtree Animal Free Campaign. Or rescuing a dog. But not just for Christmas.
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