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Monday, January 11, 1999 Published at 15:48 GMT


Home dogged by visitors after TV show

The TV programme highlighted the shelter's caring work

Battersea Dogs' Home is to close to the public for two days after a BBC television series resulted in record numbers of animal lovers seeking new pets.

The deluge of visitors has been sparked by the fly-on-the-wall documentary, which has been running five days a week since 7 December, showing the everyday work of the famous shelter.

[ image: Abandoned puppies at the home]
Abandoned puppies at the home
A spokesman for Battersea said 2,543 people had visited last weekend, compared to 1,400 on the same weekend last year.

And in the last 10 days, the number of dogs looking for a new home has dropped from 670 to 487. Over the same period the number of rescued cats taken in fell from 162 to 75.

The home, which was founded in 1860, will shut this Thursday and Friday, the spokesman said, to allow staff to deal with a backlog of work caused by the massive interest.

He said: "We are sorry to have to close for a couple of days, but we just have to catch up on ourselves - let alone let the staff catch their own breath."

No shortages

Anyone reclaiming lost cats and dogs will still be able to do so on those days from 2-4pm, and rescued animals will still be taken in, 24 hours a day.

The staff workload was exacerbated by the stringent checks they make into people's suitability to keep a pet, as well as the usual influx of animals abandoned after Christmas.

"There's no shortage of dogs or cats - we are not going to run out," said the spokesman.

The producer of the BBC series said he was delighted at the response to the show.

Steve Sklair said: "Before Christmas we were worried that more people would take their unwanted pets to Battersea after they saw how caring a place it was.

"But after Christmas there has been a big rush for dogs and cats - we are all very, very pleased."

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