YOUR help is needed to give a dog a home this New Year as increasing numbers of animals are being abandoned due to the credit crunch.
The past year has been one of the worst ever for dog and animal shelters and those in Bassetlaw are no exception.
Elaine Shaw, who owns Retford-based Babworth Animal Rescue Kennels, said the number of calls from people asking them to take in dogs has quadrupled in the past year.
“It’s really terrible. The financial downturn and people losing their homes and jobs all means that we’re getting an increasing number of calls from people who want us to take in their dogs,” she said.
“Around two to three years ago, I’d be able to re-home 40 to 50 dogs a month but now it’s more like 10 a month. The situation has definitely got worse.”
Elaine said the problem always gets worse after the festive period.
“People buy dogs as gifts and those receiving them don’t want them so they dump them,” she said.
“We have got around 30 to 40 dogs here at any one time, and some have been with us three years.”
She added: “We never put a healthy dog to sleep - they stay with us until they are re-homed.”
But while rescue centres such as Babworth need to re-home more dogs, there is a clear message to prospective new owners.
Said Elaine: “You need to be responsible - don’t buy dogs on a whim.”
“Some people feel sorry for abandoned dogs and take them in, but don’t realise what is involved in looking after them.”
“People need to think seriously about it before taking a dog in. Dogs are a luxury, and their food and vet bills don’t come cheap.”
Adopting a dog at Babworth Animal Rescue Kennels starts from £90, depending on the breed, and includes vaccination.
Said Elaine: “People can just give us a ring and come along to the kennels. We do full home checks and provide advice on looking after dogs.”
Jennie Foxhall-Lord from the Mayflower Animal Sanctuary in Bawtry said they have re-homed around 100 dogs less in 2011 than the previous year.
“Everyone’s feeling the pinch at the moment . We ask for a £150 donation to adopt a dog, which comes neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped,” she said.
“That’s a small price to pay for the companionship and loyalty that they give. They ask for so little but give back so much.”
She added: “It costs us £500 a day to stay open, and we can’t survive without donations. If they stop then we won’t be here and a lot of these dogs would be abandoned on the street or put to sleep. We need people’s generosity.”
For more information on adopting a dog or to make a donation, call Babworth Animal Rescue Kennels on 01777 708707 or the Mayflower Animal Sanctuary on 01302 711330.