Opinion Former Article

Dogs Trust: Respond to the BBC Panorama programme `Britain's Unwanted Pets`

Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, surveys Local Authorities in the UK each year to identify instances of dogs straying.

The charity recognises that there is still a problem of stray dogs in the UK - over 107,000 instances of straying in 2009 - and has been campaigning for the introduction of a system of compulsory microchipping of all dogs to help speed up the process of returning lost dogs to owners and making irresponsible owners more accountable for their pets.

The charity which looks after 16,000 dogs every year has a non destruction policy has been campaigning to stop the loss of life of healthy dogs.

Dogs Trust is campaigning for:

- A compulsory scheme to have all dogs microchipped at first change of hands and to make it a legal requirement to keep the database up to date.

- A ban on dogs being sold in pet shops as we believe that too many are sold on impulse.

- The Dangerous Dogs Act to be repealed and replaced with more robust but fairer Dog Control legislation.

- Border crossings, particularly from the Republic of Ireland, to be more strenuously policed.

- The breeding of dogs legislation reviewed and for anyone breeding any litter to be registered or licensed.

Dogs Trust believes that compulsory microchipping is the best way of permanently identifying a dog and is a more cost efficient and effective system than dog licensing, which the charity regards as a tax on dog owners.

Dogs Trust is also concerned about the large numbers of Bull breeds that are being abandoned following increasing publicity associating them with dog attacks, crime and antisocial behaviour.

Breeds such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Bull Mastiffs and Rottweilers are being unfairly vilified and labelled 'dangerous dogs'. Sadly overbreeding and negative publicity has resulted in many of these breeds being abandoned both on the streets and at rescue charities such as Dogs Trust.

Dogs Trust is:

Working closely with local communities to give youths in urban environments the knowledge to be better and responsible dog owners. The project has been piloted in London and the intention is to roll out this model to other areas around the UK.

Conducting over 3,000 classroom presentations per year to educate the dog owners of tomorrow about being responsible

Neutering around 40,000 dogs belonging to people on low incomes

Offering local authorities free microchips in order to ensure that stray dogs are returned to their owners quickly.

For further information please contact
Sinead Scott-Lennon

Visit our website at www.dogstrust.org.uk
or call us on: 020-7837 0006

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