They may be man’s best friend, but the British love of dogs has its limits as more are abandoned.
Kai, a male shar-pei crossbreed, was left abandoned at Ayr railway station, Scotland, along with a suitcase. This week saw yet another repetition of the same incident when a black Staffie was found crying as he sat tied to railings at an East Sussex railway station.
While only a few cases attract attention, there are many more left homeless on a daily basis. Research conducted by dog adoption site DogsBlog.com and The Co-operative Insurance, found that in 2013 over sixty-seven percent of animal rescue centres in the UK saw an increase in the number of abandoned dogs.
An estimated 130,000 dogs are abandoned a year in the UK and approximately one healthy dog or puppy is put to death every hour for not being able to find a suitable home.
While there are many reasons behind deciding to let go of one’s pet, looks often end up being a key influence in decision making.
“Blue Cross takes in dogs of all shapes and sizes, but the most common breed at our rehoming centres is the Staffordshire bull terrier and their crosses,” says Lisa Graham from Blue Cross.
“Sadly a minority of irresponsible owners have given this breed a bad and undeserved reputation but when well trained and socialised (just like any other dogs) Staffies can make wonderful family pets,” she adds.
A well known charity, All Dogs Matter, also agreed saying that eighty percent of the dogs abandoned are Bull breed and Staffies.
“Cute fluffy dogs are always more popular,” says Ira from All Dogs Matter.
In 2013, Blue Cross had warned that, “people buying pets as lifestyle accessories or status symbols” had led to an increase of sixty-seven per cent in unwanted Staffordshire bull terriers.
We all have heard stories of people going to crazy extents copying latest celebrity fashion trends or lifestyle. When it comes to choosing a pet too, some do end up following the celebrity trend. Be it carrying mini pooches in handbags inspired by Paris Hilton or promenading with a French bulldog or Chihuahua, pets are being seen as fashion accessories or status symbols.
In the age of selfies, some owners also go for pets who look good in photographs.
Recently, The Daily Mail, citing the RSPCA and other well-known charities, claimed how more and more black cats are being abandoned or struggling to find a home, primarily because they don’t photograph well.
To spread the message, Lisa says they at Blue Cross ran a hashtag #PassionNotFashion campaign last year where people were asked to tweet @BlueCross a photo of with their pet, saying, “why their pet is more than just an accessory.”
“Pets arrive at Blue Cross for a number of reasons and we would always ask people to seek advice if they are struggling to care for their pet.”
“Taking on a pet can be a massive, lifelong commitment. We urge people to carefully consider what caring for an animal involves and to make sure they do lots of research and have the right lifestyle and experience to care for a pet,” says Lisa.
With everything selling online, animals are also displayed on online websites for adoption. Ira stresses on the fact that selling pets online makes “people think they are ordering a product rather than a life” which also often leads to abandonment.
However, it can be a bit assuring as All Dogs Matter, claims that rehoming has become a lot more popular in the last few years with more people openly considering adopting rather than buying a dog.
— Mike Cook (@utarg) February 18, 2014