A huge rise in abandoned dogs is being blamed on “unnecessary breeding” as a Lancaster animal charity struggles to cope with demand.
Animal Care is having to keep two or sometimes three dogs in one small kennel, and staff are being forced to take them home, as the number of dogs being “dumped” at the charity’s gates has reached an all time high. The RSPCA in the North West has also said it is facing a “cat crisis” with many branches reporting unprecedented numbers of felines in their care.
The charity said the crisis is so bad that most branches and centres are unable to take in any more cats at the moment and several have more than 100 desperately waiting for new homes.
Abi Sadler, from Animal Care, based in Blea Tarn Road, said the situation had “never been so bad” and two weeks ago she completely ran out of food to feed the animals. We’re even having to keep some of the dogs in the brew room,” she said.
“It’s either that or the owners basically saying they’re going to put the dog down.
“It’s never been this bad. We’ve only got 25 kennels and we’ve got 42 dogs on site, the rest are with staff and in foster homes.
“There’s one foster home with five dogs at the moment.
“We just can’t help everybody, but when people dump them at the gates, what choice do we have?”
Abi said that a Facebook campaign for extra food when the charity ran out helped to plug the gap, but said she didn’t know how the charity would cope if the situation were to continue.
“I think there are a number of things contributing to this, but in particular it’s the number of people doing unnecessary breeding.
“There’s just no need to breed all these dogs. They are advertised online, and people are picking them up for £10, and then once the dogs get to six months, the owner suddenly realises how much they cost, and how much it takes to look after them, and they just hand them in.
“Some people are genuine, for example if they’re having to move into a place that doesn’t allow animals, but many are just extremely selfish.
“It’s a big strain, the staff are working day and night to keep things together.”
Abi said she hoped a new shop run by the charity, due to open in Market Street on October 1, will help to relieve some of the pressure and provide much needed funds.
She added: “If people can’t cope with the animals, please, rather than just dump them at the gate, ring us first, and explain the situation, so at least we’ll know what we’re dealing with.”