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Increase in abandoned dogs in Essex concerns RSPCA
Keicha, one of the dogs at the RSPCA Danaher Animal Home
Keicha is one of the many abandoned Staffordshire bull terriers at Danaher

The RSPCA in Essex say they have seen a 69% rise in legal bull-type breed dogs coming into their rehoming centres.

Centres say the number of Staffordshire Bull Terriers and other bulldog crosses coming to them are unprecedented.

The RSPCA is now setting quotas on how many it takes in to avoid being overwhelmed by these breeds.

"They're a popular breed but the levels that we get in are continuous," said Alexia Nicholls, care manager at the Danaher Animal Home in Wethersfield.

"Considering the levels we're faced with at the moment we do rehome really well," she added.

"But obviously we get the longer serving dogs that we're desperately trying to recruit permanent homes for.

If we can't find homes for them then obviously the kennels are faced with [difficult decisions as to] what they can do for them and it's soul destroying really
Valerie Howells, dog warden in Southend

"We've also seen an increase in American bull crosses that are bigger than Staffies, but unfortunately they're not as appealing as as the Staffies."

Southend-based animal warden Valerie Howells, told BBC Essex 75% of the abandoned dogs at her kennels were Staffordshire bull terriers.

"They're all just coming in left, right and centre at the moment, as a lot of other dogs are, but the majority are staffs," she said.

"I think it's the first thing that goes when the finances are tight.

"Because they've had a bad press we're finding it very difficult to find homes for them, so they're sitting in kennels for months on end.

"It's not good for the dogs and not good for the staff because they get fond of them.

"If we can't find homes for them then obviously the kennels are faced with [difficult decisions as to] what they can do for them and it's soul destroying really."

Billy, one of the dogs at the RSPCA Danaher Animal Centre
American bull dogs like Billy are also on the increase at re-homing centres

She believed the main reason for the figures was the bad press the breeds have had over the years.

Earlier this month, the RSPCA launched a campaign to improve the image of the Staffordshire bull terrier.

"They've got a bad press because irresponsible people have got hold of them and used them as what is known as 'status dogs'," she said.

"But the Staffordshire bull terrier is a loving, loyal breed. Yes, they're not very good with other dogs, but you can cope with that."




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