The Staffordshire bull terrier is the dog most likely to become unwanted in the RSPCA’s East region.
So far this year 12 of the 94 abandoned dogs collected by the RSPCA in the East region are Staffies or Staffie crosses. [These figures were collected in March, and we've taken in several more since then, so I expect the same is true of other branches]. In 2008, 90 of the 354 abandoned dogs rescued were Staffies or Staffie types, and in 2007, 97 of the 406 were Staffies/ crossbreeds.
RSPCA branches and animal centres in the East region report that Staffies and Staffie crosses are by far the breed that they see the most of. More than three quarters of Staffies/Staffie crosses taken in were male.
RSPCA superintendent Kelly Rivers said: “Staffies and other bull dogs and terriers are wonderful dogs. The problems are not usually with them but at the other end of the lead, with owners who buy them for the wrong reasons. All too often they are also used as money making machines and have several litters of puppies each year which are sold on to equally unscrupulous owners.”
“We want to see bull breeds who are properly trained, socialised and cared for. This duty of care includes neutering and microchipping your dog – no excuses.”
Many owners either refuse to have their pets neutered because they either want to protect their dog’s ‘tough’ image or because they want to breed from them - often to make money.
Of the Staffordshires, and other bull terriers taken in, half of RSPCA branches in the East said that those neutered count for less than five per cent of those taken in.
The most common reasons for giving up these dogs were that owners could no longer care for them or could not afford to keep them.
Bull terriers and bull dogs, through no fault of their own, suffer a bad press due to their aggressive image and popularity as status symbols. The high numbers of abandonments and unwanted pets reflect the fact that many people who buy them do so for the wrong reasons then quickly tire of looking after them. Sadly, these are the same people who neglect to neuter their animals, leading to needless health problems and many more unwanted puppies.
RSPCA Cambridge is taking part in the campaign and, if you live in our area and you are on benefits, we can send you out a voucher towards part of the cost of getting your bull terrier neutered. This can be used at most local vets. The map at the side of this blog shows the extent of our branch area. To apply for a voucher, email firstname.lastname@example.org
We would also like bull terrier owners to complete our short survey to help us get a better understanding of why some bull terriers become unwanted, while others spend their whole lives as well-loved pets.