Little hope for unwanted dogs unless attitudes change

The latest instalment of our weekly series dedicated to Alnwick-based dog rescue charity SHAK.

Friday, 19th April 2019, 1:00 pm

One question I get asked almost on a daily basis is how do we solve the problem of unwanted dogs in the UK?

I’ve been doing this for nearly 13 years and must have seen thousands turn up as strays or ending up in pounds and shelters. In some cases, they are even the lucky ones, as others see the vet’s needle as their last memory or even worse.

I think everyone is aware of the over-population of Staffordshire bull terriers and crosses of those types of dogs, but there are other breeds that face even worse neglect and abuse such as greyhounds and lurchers. We then also have the situation of people cross breeding different breeds to get a desired look. Not once do they take into consideration the issues that could appear regarding the dog’s health or temperament in later life.

I think the problem is that dogs have become disposable items. The image of the family pet growing old around people it devotes its life to is becoming a rare occurrence.

So many dogs get passed from pillar to post and area to area. Online sales websites have made this all to easy of course, even with microchipping being made the law, the details are only any good if they are up to date.

We often see dogs arrive with us microchipped to another part of the country. You try and ring the previous owner but they don’t answer or the number is not in use. Of course, we cannot then drive to Sheffield or Birmingham.

One dog that has arrived with us recently that ticks all of these boxes is Freddy. I would suggest he’s an American bulldog cross Akita, though why you would try and mix that is beyond me. He is microchipped to somewhere in the Midlands but was seen as a constant strayer over several weeks, before he was collected by the dog warden.

He is a super boy and so friendly, his biggest issue is his sheer strength! There is an amazing dog under that muscular and stubborn exterior. We will get him there, but then where can he go? His size and strength alone would mean that despite being so loving, he will need a very experienced and understanding home.

Another unwanted dog that has become a rescue issue through no fault of its own. How can we stop this happening? Unless people start taking more responsibility, I really don’t think we can.