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Friday, 7 July, 2000, 05:28 GMT 06:28 UK
Scotland 'worst' for strays
Dog chain
Owners are urged to keep control of their dogs
A survey has shown that 17,000 healthy dogs were destroyed in the UK last year and that parts of Scotland are among the worst areas for strays.

National Canine Defence League officials have suggested that the actual number of dogs destroyed could be much higher if figures for all dog handling agencies were taken into consideration.

The study findings followed the discovery of four dogs which had been brutally bludgeoned near a village close to Glasgow.

The charity has been urging pet owners to take the lead in the fight against strays and get their pets neutered if they are not planning to breed.

The research carried out for NCDL by polling organisation MORI found that the worst area in the UK for stray dogs per head of population was northern Scotland.

The Borders was ranked fourth worst, while Central Scotland was fifth, equal with Wales and the west of England.

Strays
1. Northern Scotland
2. North East England
3. North West England
4. Borders
5. Wales and West
5. Central Scotland
7. Southern England
8. Midlands
8. East and Anglia
10. South West England
11. Yorkshire
12. London
In northern Scotland, 4,000 strays were recorded (a decrease of 3% on the previous year) and 160 were destroyed.

In the Borders, the figures were 2,100 strays (up 6%), with 340 destroyed; while in Central Scotland there were 8,600 strays (up 11%), with 1,460 dogs destroyed.

The NCDL said that all dog owners have a responsibility to get their pets neutered.

They said unplanned litters were one of the most common causes of strays.

Owners have also been urged to have microchips inserted under the skin of their dogs to ensure they can easily be returned should they become lost.

The NCDL survey was sent out to all 436 local authorities in the UK and the response rate was 60%.

Meanwhile, an investigation has been launched into the discovery of four dead dogs near Langbank, just outside Glasgow.

Wendy Robertson
Wendy Robertson: "Horrified"
The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the dogs were found heavily bloodstained and huddled in a heap near to a transmitter mast.

A lurcher, possibly four years old, was found barely alive, but had to be humanely destroyed at the scene.

SSPCA investigators believe the animals had been tethered to a gate post where they were clubbed and then dragged and dumped in nettles at the base of the transmitter.

The area around the gate was bloodstained and a trail of blood ran across the grass to the spot where their bodies lay half-hidden.

One of the dead dogs - a large wolfhound - was so brutally beaten a post mortem was needed to identify the breed.

The others were a six-month-old tan-coloured lurcher/greyhound cross mongrel pup with a wound to its shoulder and a black and white Jack Russell bitch which had suffered such a severe blow to the side of its head that its jaw was broken.

SSPCA inspector Wendy Robertson said officers had been sickened by what they had seen.

The society hopes that someone will be able to recall seeing the dogs in question and lead them to those responsible.

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See also:

06 Jul 00 | Scotland
Dog deaths probed
20 Apr 99 | Sci/Tech
'Alarming' rise in animal cruelty
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