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True picture of dog crisis emerges as rescue centre issues desperate plea

By This is Lincolnshire  |  Posted: August 12, 2010

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Jasmine.

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A RETFORD dog rescue kennel has issued a desperate plea as it buckles under the tidal wave of animals turning up at its door.

Elaine Shaw, who runs Babworth Animal Rescue Kennels (BARK) on Mansfield Road, highlighted a hard-hitting recent BBC documentary which lifted the lid on the problems facing Battersea Dogs' Home as the catalyst for her appeal.

She says the amount of healthy dogs being put down, as shown in the programme, is a national problem and demanded that puppy farms and people who buy from them are stopped.

"Things have really come to a head," said Elaine.

"The recession and the fact the RSPCA stopped taking in strays in May means places like ours are inundated - people are turning up at our gate all day and all night and we can't cope," she said.

"We have 30 places and they are full - one dog gets re-homed and there is another in its place immediately.

"The Government needs to say enough is enough - people have to stop breeding Staffy (Staffordshire Bull Terriers) crosses in particular - no-one wants them and they end up here," she added.

Elaine put the problem in perspective, saying BARK was rehoming 40 to 50 dogs a month last year. This year they are lucky to find homes for ten in a month.

Speaking about the documentary, Elaine thought it was the first time ever the true picture of what is happening to unwanted dogs has been shown.

The country's oldest animal shelter revealed it had to put down nearly a third of all the dogs that come into the home - 2,815 animals, most of which were healthy, but unsuitable for re-homing because of their behaviour.

A large proportion of the dogs which come in to the London- based charity are Staffordshire Bull Terrier crosses.

"It was fantastic - upsetting but fantastic. That is what it is like with dogs in the this country at the moment," she said.

"If we can persuade just one person not to buy or breed a Staffy cross then that is a start."

Elaine has taken in ten dogs, four parrots, three cats and a number of budgies to her own home, as well as the 30 dogs she and her team of helpers care for.

"It's a very tough job. I used to win prize after prize while I was showing dogs but this has become my full-time job.

"It's stressful and extremely hard work with a never-ending list of bills.

"And winter is around the corner so we need all the help we can get - absolutely any donations people can manage will help keep us going," she added.

For ways in which to help and to adopt a dog, visit www.barkonline.co.uk or phone 01777 708 707.

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