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'Strays' causing crisis at kennels

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More people are getting rid of their pet dogs by reporting them as strays to dog wardens.

The abandoned pets have caused a surge in the number of dogs handed in at the kennels used by Blaby District Council dog wardens.

Michelle Ikin, senior dog warden, said the kennels were "reaching crisis point" due to the problem.

She said: "We seem to be receiving a lot of calls from people who have apparently 'found' dogs, which turn out to be their own pets. Obviously, with this situation, the dog isn't going to be claimed, as genuine strays would be. This is putting tremendous pressure on kennel space."

The Blaby wardens recently collected a 10-year-old dog who was handed into a rescue centre after the person had "found" him outside.

They discovered the owner of the dog had made a number of phone calls that day trying to get rid of the dog and believe the "finder'' was actually a friend of the owner.

Michelle said: "People abandoning pets in this way is putting a lot of pressure on resources that are intentioned for genuine stray animals.

"Dogs that come in as strays are much more difficult to re-home than a pet handed in at a rescue with a history.

"By trying to get rid of their animals this way they're actually putting their pets at a much greater risk of being destroyed than if they re-home them responsibly.

"What people are prepared to put their animals through never fails to amaze me. It's very sad."

The same problem is being felt at Willowtree kennels, in Barrow-upon-Soar, which re-homes dogs collected in Leicester. Owner Mick Watts said: "I think we have the same situation as Leicester. People are getting their own dogs picked up by the dog wardens because they can't afford to keep them.

"Since December, only about 30 per cent of stray dogs are being reclaimed by their owners and the rest are not wanted. A year ago it would be more like 50 per cent."

Simon Ellis, who runs the stray dogs operation at College Garth Kennels in Hathern, is responsible for a growing number of abandoned strays collected by dog wardens in Melton, Charnwood and North West Leicestershire.

He said: "We're getting an average of 29 stray dogs a week and that number is rising.

"About 70 per cent are abandoned and it's getting worse because of the economy – people can't afford to keep them. It's vet bills as well as food.

"We have room for 104 dogs and if they're not re-homed within 60 days we have to put them down."

For more information about dogs needing homes in Blaby district, visit:

www.blaby.gov.uk/dogs

'Strays' causing  crisis  at kennels


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