Over 47,000 owners have abandoned their dogs in the past 12 months according to the annual Stray Dog Survey by Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity.
Dogs Trust questions all local authorities across the UK as part of the annual Stray Dog Survey and 2015 findings reveal that 47,596dogs were left behind in council pounds, where they remained unclaimed by their owners. Abandoning a dog puts them at risk of being put down by local authorities after seven days, as they struggle to care for the vast numbers of strays that are picked up on the streets of the UK every day. While Dogs Trust never puts a healthy dog down, 5,142 stray dogs were destroyed by reluctant local authorities in the last year – equating to 14 dogs a day or, one dog every two hours.
In total, 102,363 stray and abandoned dogs have been handled by local authorities between 2014 and 2015, with under half being claimed by their owners. The overall figure represents a slight drop on the previous year’s figures (110,675) but still equates to 280 strays being found across the UK each day. Meanwhile, at Dogs Trust, 43,771 calls have been taken from people trying to give up their dogs in the last 12 months – that’s 3,647 calls a month, 841 a week and 120 a day.
Adrian Burder, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust comments: “To learn that over 47,000 unclaimed and unwanted dogs are left in council kennels should shock us as a nation of dog lovers. Abandoning a dog is simply unacceptable and sadly, Dogs Trust’s famous slogan “A Dog is For Life” is as significant as ever – if you are not ready to care for a dog for its entire life, do not commit to becoming a dog owner.
This year’s Stray Dog Survey shows that Local Authorities continue to pick up the pieces and have found themselves in the tough position of being forced to put healthy dogs to sleep for lack of space and resources. Stray dogs that find themselves at Dogs Trust are the lucky ones, as we will care for a dog for its entire life if needed, but not all are so lucky and treating a family pet as a disposable item has to stop. Dogs Trust works tirelessly with the UK’s local authorities to reduce instances of straying by offering subsidised neutering and free microchipping, while this helps ease the pressure on council kennels, the responsibility must lie with dog owners.”
However, the work of local authority dog wardens and charities like Dogs Trust is having a huge impact. Across the UK, 54,767 stray dogs were reunited with their owners. The charity is hopeful that this number will continue to grow as it will be a legal requirement to microchip your dog as of April 2016 across England, Scotland and Wales. Dogs Trust has long campaigned for this change in law as a microchip ensures dog owners are traceable and increases the chance of being reunited with your pet should it go missing.
*Stray Dog Survey, findings by GfK
The 2015 survey was produced by GfK who mailed questionnaires to all 370 local authorities in England Wales and Scotland. 319 Local Authorities responded to the survey, with an additional 26 authorities in Northern Ireland submitting data. Findings in this report are based on ‘estimated’ figures. We have grossed up the actual numbers reported by the responding authorities to make estimates for each TV region based on the assumption that the authorities responding are representative of authorities as a whole.
The Stray Dog Survey reveals 47,596 dogs were heartlessly left behind in council pounds, where they remained unclaimed by their owners
In total 102,363 stray and abandoned dogs were handled by Local Authorities between 2014 - 2015
Dogs Trust never puts a healthy dog down, but 5,142 stray dogs were put to sleep by UK Local Authorities between 2014 and 2015, that’s one dog every two hours.