03/09/2008

Eighteen Stray Dogs Put To Sleep Every Day

A Dog welfare charity's annual Stray Dogs Report has revealed an estimated 96,892 stray dogs were taken in by local councils in the UK last year; 6,710 of which were put to sleep for want of a home.

Dogs Trust is urging those looking for a new dog to visit their local rescue centre before splashing the cash on a 'retail rover'.

Despite the sustained efforts of both animal welfare organisations and local authorities, on average 11 stray and unwanted dogs an hour are handled by local authorities.

Every 80 minutes a dog is put to sleep. Each hour five dogs are reunited with their owners, three are taken to welfare organisations and one is rehomed.

The report conducted by GfK NOP on behalf of Dogs Trust shows a reduction from the previous year but as the charity's Chief Executive, Clarissa Baldwin, explains, there is still much work to do: "This is the first year that the number of stray dogs in the UK has dropped below 100,000. But this is still far too high a figure - it's 6,000 more than the number of seats at Wembley! For a nation of so-called animal lovers it is unacceptable that pets are being treated as throwaway commodities. Dog ownership is a privilege, not a right.

"Dogs Trust is working closely with local authorities and runs extensive education, neutering and microchipping campaigns to help them to tackle the issue. As a result the number of stray dogs has dropped gradually in the past ten years.

"However the onus remains on owners to accept their responsibility. Get your dog neutered and microchipped and ensure he is wearing an ID tag so that if he is lost he can be reunited with you more easily."

The charity believes the most effective and humane way of reducing stray dog numbers in the long-term is best achieved through education, neutering and microchipping. Last year microchips helped reunite 30% of strays with their owners.

Dogs Trust invests approximately £5m each year in neutering, microchipping and education programmes in the worst affected areas of the UK - Northern Ireland, North West, North East and Wales. Since the campaigns began in 1999, over 270,000 dogs have been neutered and 228,000 have been microchipped through Dogs Trust.

(GK/JM)

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