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Increasing numbers of poorly stray dogs being dumped in St Helens
11:43am Friday 19th October 2012 in News
STRAY dogs are increasingly being diagnosed with malnourishment and illnesses when they are rescued from the borough’s streets.
Wardens fear in many cases that money worries is resulting in families who cannot afford to feed their pet or pay vets bills releasing the dogs.
Now Diane Foreman, principal environmental health officer with St Helens Council, has urged struggling dog owners to contact the local authority for advice if they are suffering hardship.
She told the Star number of strays recovered in St Helens, which stands at about 420 a year, has not altered significantly in recent years.
However, the amount of strays found in poor health has.
This includes dogs found with tumours or severely underweight.
Mrs Foreman said: “The condition of lots of the stray dogs is worse than what we have seen before.
“We pick up more that have not been particularly well looked after.
“In the past year we have seen a couple with tumours who have needed veterinary care and not received it.
“It is the recession – people are struggling.
“We are getting more calls from people who saying we can’t look after our dogs anymore.
“We don’t have a re-homing service but what we can do is signpost people to the Dogs Trust or other charities that do.”
Strays have included a St Bernard, who was suffering from pink eye, and it is suspected the dog’s condition – and the prospect of vets bills – led to the owner letting it go.
However, the reason for dogs being let loose if not always financial.
One of the most common types of stray is a bull terrier cross.
Wardens believe owners who have bought the dogs as puppies may become concerned when they grow larger than expected.
Mrs Foreman added: “People can mistakenly think they have something they should not have (a cross breed dangerous dog) and are getting rid.”
But she added in that most cases the cross breeds are “a good family dog” and again stressed that people seek advice if they have concerns.
An increase in stray lurchers, meanwhile, has led to suspicions the animals are being bred for hunting and that owners dump puppies when they believe they have more than necessary.