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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 January 2008, 15:25 GMT
Actor launches dog adoption drive
The adopt-a-dog campaign walk

Actor Neil Morrissey has helped launch a national adopt-a-dog campaign which highlights the plight of animals abandoned in rescue homes.

The actor, best known for his role in the TV series Men Behaving Badly, owns a dog from a shelter.

He joined 100 dogs and their owners in a walk from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to Battersea Park at the launch.

Some 7,800 dogs were put down in the UK in 2007 when homes could not be found for them, the Battersea home said.

Morrissey, whose dog Tiggy was adopted, said: "Tiggy was taken from the Mayhew animal centre in Kensal Rise, she was dumped once, obviously as a pup and then dumped three years later as an adult when we got her.

"The extraordinary thing was she was already chipped and when the shelter phoned the family and said we found your dog, the family said well we don't want her."

Neil Morrissey with his dog Tiggy
Neil Morrissey's dog Tiggy was abandoned twice

The actor said more dogs are abandoned during the Christmas period as many new owners abandon the dogs when they get "feisty" or they are unable to take care of them.

In other cases dogs become homeless when owners either move or die, leaving the animal to fend for itself.

"All dogs need training and attention. Never be afraid of a pooch, they can always have their behaviour changed, there are no bad dogs, just bad owners," said Morrissey.

Helen Baxter from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home said: "We had about 270 dogs coming in just over 10 days over Christmas.

"We would ask please just go to a rescue centre, they are all over the country, take on a dog that is no longer wanted anymore rather than going to a breeder or a pet shop because there are so many great dogs out there at rescue centres."

The campaign aims to raise 500,000 by the end of March for dog rescue centres across the UK.

The dogs at the launch also participated in various fitness and agility games.

Actor Neil Morrissey with his adopted dog Tiggy

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