Rise in city’s stray dog population ‘unprecedented’

By on 22/03/2010 in News

Councillor Neil Eustace, Chair of the Public Protection Committee at Birmingham City Council, is calling for tougher penalties for reckless dog owners following an alarming rise in the city's stray dog population. Councillor Eustace would like to see fixed penalty notices for owners who repeatedly allow their dogs to stray, as well as new powers that could force dog owners to ensure that their garden fences are of sufficient strength to prevent the dog from escaping.

Dog wardens at the council's Animal Welfare team are reporting a significant rise in the number of stray dogs that are being abandoned across the city, from 1,224 in 2007, to almost 2,016 in 2009, the highest number of dogs ever collected in Birmingham.

The type of breed most commonly abandoned has also changed over the years. While ten years ago, it would have been Rottweilers and Alsatians, dog wardens are finding more and more Staffordshire bull terriers abandoned in the city. It is estimated that of the 2016 dogs collected last year, 43%, (a total of 866 dogs) were crossbred or purebred Staffordshire bull terrier types. Wardens believe that this is symptomatic of the mentality of irresponsible owners, who acquire dogs as accessories with no understanding of the breed or the care they require. Only approximately 30% of stray dogs collected are claimed by their owners, the rest have simply been abandoned.

Recent situations to which the wardens have been called out to include; an injured pit bull terrier who had been abandoned in a cement works, a dog trapped behind a garden shed and two dogs who invaded a garden patio, leaving a terrified resident trapped in their home.

Councillor Neil Eustace comments:

“The sheer number of strays in the city to which our dog wardens are being called out to is unprecedented. Public funds are being drained by selfish people who acquire these dogs as status symbols and have no intention of looking after them. This creates unnecessary suffering for the animal, and fuels public fear of dogs on the street.

There are a number of issues that are unacceptable here, firstly, people should not be acquiring dogs that they have no intention of looking after. Secondly, even if they are not being abandoned, owners should not allow their dogs to roam the streets; they can cause serious road traffic accidents, attack people and scare residents. Lastly, there is absolutely no need to abandon a dog. If owners cannot cope with the responsibility, they should be contacting our dog wardens, who can provide a list of animal rescue organisations who may be able to provide support. It is beyond cruel to just dump a dog; it causes distress to the animal and alarm to residents who have to cope with a frightened dog on their property”.

Stray dog trapped behind a garden shed (Video)
Injured Pit Bull Terrier rescued from Cement Works in Bordesley, Birmingham (Video)

ENDS

For more information please contact Hayley Meachin on 0121 303 1271/ 07920 750007  hayley.meachin@birmingham.gov.uk

Note to Editors

Footage of dog wardens in action available on request.

In April 2007, an amendment to the Environmental Protection Act transferred powers to deal with stray dogs from the police to local authorities.

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