Tougher controls on ownership of dogs are being sought by campaigners in Kent, following increasing numbers of abandoned ‘status dogs’ in the area.
BBC Radio Kent has reported that, according to figures that it has obtained, more than a third of all dogs taken by council wardens in the Medway region were Staffordshire bull terriers; out if 882 dogs brought in, 350 were of that breed.
In Gravesham, this figure rose to 50 per cent, but in Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Margate, it rocketed to 90 per cent.
Tim Oxley, of Swale Borough Council’s animal control team, commented that their figures were closer to 40 per cent. Asked what he thought was the cause of the high numbers of abandoned Staffordshire bull terriers, he commented:
“It is difficult to put your finger on a reason.”
“We have got the Bill Sykes and Bullseye syndrome of people walking around with this hard-looking dog, which I believe is false.”
“A Staffie is actually a really friendly person-loving dog but they look the business.”
He suspects that people were not aware of how expensive it is to keep a dog, and that they dumped them once that became apparent.
The branch of Battersea Dog’s Home has many of the dogs that have been picked up in Kent. One dog had been left to fend for itself by a family living in a high rise block of flats, who claimed that they could not walk it.
The home’s director, Laura Jenkins, said:
“We have seen the bull breed type becoming increasingly popular as a status breed, which sets off the owner’s image.”
“But people tend to have it for the wrong reasons.”
“We do a lot of work with dogs being passed on through social networks. You really don’t want to go to the internet or a bloke in the pub.”