Page last updated at 08:14 GMT, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Economy blamed for animal dumping

Dog in Battersea Dogs Home
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has taken in 6,430 stray dogs this year

More dogs are being abandoned, which Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has blamed on the economic downturn.

The rescue home based in south London has said it has taken in more than 1,000 extra stray dogs so far this year compared to the same period in 2007.

Staff believe this is partly because of greater financial pressures on owners.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said it has also has seen an increase in calls from pet owners worried about the costs of keeping animals.

So far this year, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has taken in 6,430 stray dogs compared with 5,335 at the same stage in 2007.

We are just over a week away from Christmas and are almost full
Chief Executive Jan Barlow

The problem is made worse because some owners do not know where to turn if they lose their pet, the home said.

Since new legislation came into force in April, stray dogs are no longer kept at police stations but are dealt with by local councils.

Chief Executive Jan Barlow said: "We are just over a week away from Christmas and are almost full.

"While we think part of the rise in numbers of strays is because people can't afford to keep their dogs any more so are dumping them on the streets, we're also extremely worried that people losing their dogs don't where to turn to try and find them."

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home was set up in 1860 and takes in about 12,000 dogs and cats each year.



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