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The Pets Foundation Santa Paws appeal launches on 27th November.

Anchor Retail Park, 2, Active Way, Burnley BB11 1BS  
during Santa Paws to donate to help our cause.”

Big George, a former resident at PAWS

Big George

 Big George spent his life at our rescue after
being dumped, aged 2 years and Charlie dumped on Bacup Moor at 11 months.

It took us over a year to rehabilitate him to the point we could rehome him.

Charlie, A big dog that was rehomed from PAWS



Dog ownership is a very hot topic at the minute, with the government stance
on banning a certain type of bull breed (which isn’t actually recognised as
a breed in the UK), and following a recent conference we participated in
with Battersea Academy and other dog rescues across the world, it was
interesting to hear that there seems to be an overall diminishment in owners
taking responsibility for the dogs they have chosen to share their lives

Recently a farmer in Wales lost livestock to the value of £14,000 following
an attack by 2 large breed dogs which killed 22 pregnant ewes.  The dogs
lost their lives too because the owner could not control them and was fined
a paltry £900 as a result of his neglect.  There were nearly 22,000 cases of
out-of-control dogs causing injury reported last year - up from 16,000 cases
in 2018.  That’s a total of 6,000 reported injuries in a 4 year period!
Over the same period dog ownership increased 15 percent - from 8.9 million
to 10.2 million - according to veterinary charity PDSA.  Meanwhile, a Sky
News investigation in 2021 found that more than 1,500 dogs had been
destroyed after being detained under the Dangerous Dogs Act in the UK since
2019.  Finally, earlier this year, the Royal Mail said it had recorded a
total of 1,916 dog attacks on staff in the year up to 31 March 2023 -
averaging 37 a week and increasing 14% on the 1,673 incidents in the
previous year.

What is happening to responsible dog ownership?

There have always been issues with a small percentage of dog owners not
taking their responsibilities seriously enough, both towards their pet and
other people.  However, it seems to us as a charity that this has been
exacerbated by the huge increase in the need to have a dog during and after
the Covid pandemic.  There has certainly been a huge increase in puppies
being bred for the wrong reasons (profit) and not for the benefit of the
dog.  Dogs bred in factory like conditions with no thought for their mental
health and physical wellbeing, dogs imported from Europe and transported in
vehicles at extremely close quarters with each other, having incomplete or
inaccurate vaccination histories leaving an open door to potential
transmission of disease amongst our endemic population of dogs, and finally
those who think it’s a good idea to make a few pounds to help pay the bills
without doing their due diligence and researching what constitutes a healthy
dog.  We watched as puppy prices sky-rocketed and people who were bored at
home ‘had to have a dog because they needed one for their mental health’. 

As a charity we exist to help people when they can no longer cope, they
suffer bereavement/illness, a pet is abandoned, they are rendered homeless,
etc.  There are many genuine reasons as life has a way of throwing curve
balls and life-changing decisions have to be made.  Dogs have long been our
companions in life and both dog and human have benefitted from this mutual
relationship, but it seems that dogs are increasingly suffering from our
poor decisions.  Dogs born with genetic malformations, overbreeding of
females to the point their bodies are exhausted and can no longer function,
dogs with mental health issues due to poor breeding and environment,
preventable disease, no training or socialisation, the list goes on. 

If you decide that you would like to share your life with a dog, think
about it long and hard, leave it for a bit and then think again.  Don’t rush
into it.  Choose a dog that is right for your lifestyle.  If you aren’t
inclined to get up early in the morning and walk for miles and miles, then a
Greyhound would be more suitable – they need much less exercise than people
think and are known as 45mph couch potatoes.  If, however, you love hill
walking every day and have the time and energy, look perhaps at the terrier
breeds that have the stamina to cope with this.  A Border Collie has a
brain, bred to problem-solve and work hard and, whilst there are always
exceptions to the rule, a collie is not going to enjoy being kept in the
house all day waiting for you to come home.  They will find some
entertainment to keep them busy and this can lead to negative behaviours and
potentially rehoming.  Huskies are another breed that have become popular
more recently, again they are bred for stamina and love being outside in all
weathers.  They also shed and need a lot of grooming.

The biggest responsibility of being a dog owner is ensuring your dog is a
happy, well-rounded individual which is resilient, well-trained and
responsive to your commands.  There are far too many incidents of dogs
running up to other dogs and then a reaction occurs.  Keep your dog safe,
keep it on a lead.  If it isn’t on a lead, ensure that it has 100% recall in
all circumstances.  Use a muzzle if your dog is reactive so it can’t cause
harm other animals.  Find a good trainer, one who is properly qualified in
positive reinforcement and ask for their help (look for APDT or IMDT
qualification) or you may need to find a behaviourist (again check for bona
fide qualifications).  Consider the lifetime cost of owning a dog -
grooming, feeding, annual vaccination, regular flea/worm treatments,
veterinary treatment, insurance, equipment, training, boarding costs if you
go on holiday, etc.  Do you have a home that is suitable for a dog, what
size garden do you have and how high and strong is your fencing?  What
changes do you need to make to dog-proof your home and how much will it

The dogs we share our lives with do not choose where they end up living –
we have to make informed decisions about whether or not we are qualified and
experienced enough to look after an animal that has the potential to do harm
if it is not trained properly (all dog breeds are not equal).  We have a
responsibility to ensure we keep them safe from harm, from allegations of
wrong-doing (regardless of whether they are true or not) and potential
seizure if something goes wrong.  A dog's owner is the only person who can
prevent an attack from happening, and you may have to pay the ultimate price
if you cannot control your animal.

For those members of society who choose a breed for the wrong reasons,
size, strength, agility, stamina, protection, etc, you have an even greater
responsibility to educate yourself on how your dog ticks and how you can
raise a well-balanced canine companion.  The dog you think you need, may not
be the one you should have.  Listen to advice, do your due diligence and
think carefully about the long-term impact upon you (and possibly your
family/friends) if things go down the wrong path.

Our dogs deserve the best, they provide us with unconditional love
regardless and we should provide them with the building blocks to cope in
our world and not allow them to be demonised because of our poor choices. 


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