Dogs being dumped in Plymouth streets as recession bites
MORE dogs are being turned loose to roam the streets because of the recession, a dog warden says.
"There has been a spate of Staffordshire bull terriers being abandoned and I am sure that is down to the economic situation," Malcolm Orchard, a South Hams District Council warden, said.
The downturn has also put huge pressure on pet rescue centres.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Ruth Rickard, deputy manager at the Gables Farm Dogs' and Cats' Home, said: "Generally there are a lot more animals needing to be rehomed.
"We have got a waiting list of more than 100 dogs and a similar number of cats," Ms Rickard said.
"Because of the economic downturn people are not getting their pets neutered so we are getting more pregnant animals coming in."
She said there were a lot of Staffordshire bull terriers and other terriers among the unwanted dogs.
They had also seen an increase in the number of wolf-like breeds, such as malamutes, since the Twilight Saga film series.
Mr Orchard is launching a campaign to encourage owners to microchip their animals. "The problem is that some owners do not take the time to check on what becoming a dog owner really means," he said.
"They don't look at it too deeply – the level of exercise, how much time has to be spent training a young puppy and the level of knowledge you need to ensure that the animal is looked after.
"Dogs are expensive to keep. Some cost up to £30 a week to feed plus quite high veterinary costs."
He added: "Some owners take on a big powerful breed and then find they cannot look after them so they just turn them loose without any identification – no collar, no marking. We want every dog to be microchipped so we can check on its ownership."
He is now launching the chipping campaign in partnership with Animals in Distress at Ipplepen (phone 01803 812121) to coincide with National Microchip Awareness Month.
They are offering to microchip any dogs through June and July for £5. The campaign will end with a session at Marldon Apple Pie Fayre on Saturday, July 28. Microchipping involves injecting a small device under the skin of the animal which when scanned by a microchip reader displays a unique number held on a national register by the RSPCA and Petlog. If a pet goes missing, and has no collar or identification, a kennel will charge £160 for collecting and housing the dog and £12 a day kennel fees on top.
But if you take a micro-chipped pet to a vet he will be able to scan and possibly re-unite with the owner – by phone without involving the dog warden.
Veterinary charity PDSA, which has a pet hospital in Stonehouse, said it had seen a sharp increase in the number of people coming to them seeking care for their pets.
A spokesperson said: "We see the effects of the recession in a slightly different way to those who take in abandoned pets.
"People use us when they are receiving benefits and with more households qualifying, more people are using us.
"The effects in Plymouth have seen that our hospital is no longer capable of dealing with all the city's needs which is why we've had to launch a £2million public appeal to help build a bigger hospital in Derriford."
Statistics show that between 2006 and 2011 there was a 42 percent increase in the number of people using the PDSA service.
A Plymouth City Council spokeswoman said: "We cannot confirm any increase in abandoned or feral dogs as we do not record the information in this way.
"The statistics we do have on stray dogs do not appear to show any particular upward trend."