DESPITE our pride in being a nation of animal lovers, almost 25,000 Stafforshire bull terriers are destroyed in the UK every year.
Now volunteers in Rugby are trying to bring the figure down by fostering unwanted dogs on behalf of voluntary group BullieSOS. Around eight out of ten homeless dogs in Britain are staffies or staffie cross breeds.
Jackie Hart, a BullieSOS volunteer from Rugby, said: “There are a staggering amount of dogs from all breeds ending up in rescue, whether it be as a stray or given up by the family due to a change in circumstances.
“The current trend for Staffordshire bull terrier-type dogs gives us great cause for concern. There is a campaign on Facebook called Stop Breeding and Start Rehoming - the idea of the group is to try and raise awareness of the situation that staffies find themselves in today.”
She added: “Due to bad press, irresponsible ownership and unnecessary breeding, people are abandoning, and surrendering these lovely dogs nationwide to various charities and rescue centres. Many are family dogs who are good with children and other pets, but because they are adults they are overlooked by people wanting to rehome. Things have to change. Animal welfare organisations are stretched to the limit -some are unable to run a ‘no put to sleep’ policy.”
It’s estimated that 68 staffies are staffie crosses a day are put to sleep in the UK because people continue to breed them for profit.
Jackie added: “Rescue and re-homing organisations need to review their policies and the the dog’s history into account. Easier access to neutering and spaying schemes would also help stop excessive breeding.”
According to the RSPCA, staffies can make excellent pets and in the right home can live happily with children and other pets. However, a large number of that end up in care have been mistreated. In 2009, dogs from animal cruelty cases comprised nearly a quarter of the Staffordshire bull terriers and crossbreeds that came into RSPCA centres.
Jackie cares for six dogs, two of which were strays that were rescued from being put down but now make excellent pets.
“Our two English bull terriers come from rescue also, one of them is famous as she was taken away from her owner by the council - not Rugby Borough Council - due to owner neglect. She is now a happy and healthy dog.
“We also had two foster dogs - both are staffie crosses, both were picked up as strays and were due to be put to sleep. One went to a new home at the end of last month and the other will remain with us until a new permanent home can be found.”
Anyone interested in fostering can visit http://www.bulliesos.co.uk/ or call BullieSOS on 07854 643507.