ONE dog every two hours is being put to sleep by local UK authorities, but what can we do to stop it?
In 2015, approximately 47,596 dogs were left behind in council pounds, unclaimed by their owners, according to the Stray Dog Survey. These figures are shocking, but are we unknowingly to blame for this?
Dogs Trust claim that in December 2016, 127 dogs were abandoned at their shelter in the two weeks around Christmas – leading to claims that it was due to people buying puppies and dogs as gifts for people. Dogs Trust have a very famous slogan, ‘A Dog Is For Life, Not Just For Christmas’ which some people don’t seem to abide by. Is it acceptable to buy a dog for Christmas, or are we not taking the lives of animals seriously enough?
Maisie Ball, who has been working as a rescue worker for over several years, said: “We likely see more dogs from people that buy puppies from sites like Gumtree and then in the spring when they have stopped being cute puppies and become more juvenile.
“Getting a dog is such a huge commitment in time, effort and money and I think that’s what a lot of people don’t take into consideration – dogs are expensive!”
When thinking of getting a dog or any other kind of pet, the majority of the general public tend to think of costs from buying toys, beds and food, but they forget a lot of other vital expenses. When getting a dog you also have to consider insurance, getting your dog microchipped and all the other bills from the vets.
You will also have to wave bye-bye to those holiday get-aways, that is unless you’re willing to cough up a lot of time and money to get your dog a doggy passport. Maisie says “they’re [dogs] so restrictive and they need a lot of care.”
Maisie goes on, “people react emotionally around Christmas and perhaps on impulse.
“It’s just un-education and to an extent, ignorance of the subject itself.”
When deciding on getting a furry, new addition to your family, Maisie suggests to explore all options to find the right one for you. She states “sometimes buying from a reputable breeder is better for specific breeds or if you have small children or other pets.
“Otherwise, rescuing really is the way forward and we do get pups in sometimes.”
When discussing the benefits of rehoming a rescue dog, Maisie says “you know about the dog before you adopt it, you can make sure it’s right decision for everyone and you may even find a match in a dog you hadn’t thought of owning.
“It helps needy dogs and they’re very much rewarding, especially if they’re nervous or need more work when you get them.”
Although many rescue centres and animal shelters urge the public to rehome rather than buy animals, a recent survey shows that almost 10% of the people questioned would not consider rehoming a dog, and out of all the people questioned, none said they would rehome an ‘ugly’ dog.
Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, Adrian Burder, said “to learn that over 47,000 unclaimed and unwanted dogs are left in council kennels should shock us as a nation of dog lovers.
“Abandoning a dog is simply unacceptable and sadly, Dogs Trust’s famous slogan ‘A Dog is For Life’ is as significant as ever – if you are not ready to care for a dog its entire life, do not commit to becoming a dog owner.”
Without the help of rescue centres and animal shelters, one can only imagine what the world would be like. Thanks to the work of charities and authority dog wardens, 54,767 stray dogs were reunited with their owners in 2015 and now that it’s a legal requirement to microchip your dog these numbers are set to increase.
Maisie states “they [shelters] are very much important – there’s so many unwanted dogs and what would happen to them otherwise?
“It gives them a chance at a new life.”