Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Britain's Unwanted Pets - Panorama this evening

For anyone who missed it, the program's still available via the BBC iPlayer.

Initial thoughts:

We urgently need the kind of knowledgeable activity to improve rehoming of difficult dogs that exists in the US:

"Though the public believes that dogfighting is the number-one problem facing pit bulls, a 2005 roundtable discussion among rescuers, breeders, and shelters concluded that the greatest challenge is overbreeding, Reynolds said. To combat this trend, BAD RAP works with responsible breeders, encourages breeders to “slow down,” and conducts outreach in communities where pit bulls are the favored pet. Lack of ethnic diversity in animal welfare agencies has historically translated into a dearth of outreach to non-white dog owners, said Reynolds, but her group aims to change that.
Through a program called “Pit Fix,” owners can take advantage of free spay/neuter surgeries for pit bulls at the East Bay SPCA. BAD RAP also offers free vaccination fairs in neighborhoods with high concentrations of pit bulls; owners who attend these events receive free leashes, collars, advice, and the chance to sign up for free spay/neuter surgeries as well.
The programs “create an opening for discussion,” Reynolds said, and they produce results: Last year, 607 pit bulls were sterilized for free in Alameda County, and BAD RAP’s free training classes (which accept dog-aggressive pits) have received an “overwhelming response.” http://www.animalsheltering.org/resource_library/magazine_articles/the_scoop/pit_bulls_dilemma_and_debate.html
What can be done for the much larger and potentially dangerous pit bull ought to be possible for the Staffordshire, but Battersea can't just release dogs they know are potential fighters to inexperienced adopters and let them get on with it.

The problem isn't a straightforward one of "over-population" as Staffordshire puppies are in demand (the program confirmed my own impressions of amounts of money which can be involved). I'm not sure it's even as simple and straightforward as irresponsible owners getting fed up with once their dog's out of the cute puppy stage because lots of the pups actually do stay with their owners and are well-loved and looked after (although they may be a regular expense to veterinary charities). Owners living close to the breadline and in cramped accommodation are more likely to hit difficulties that mean they have to give up their dogs. If we could only nudge a percentage of the people who buy staffordshire puppies into considering adoption and give them the backup needed to make it a success we would be part of the way towards a solution.

No comments:

Post a Comment