Hit by a car and left to die, 18-month-old Maverick was hours from being destroyed when he was rescued.
Maverick was taken in by Whitehall Dog Rescue, in Cave Lane, East Ardsley, after a call from Leeds City Council’s dog warden service during a winter period that left rescues “bursting at the seams”.
The Husky was one of more than 3,000 dogs impounded in Leeds in the last three years, while the service put down over 250 dogs in 2011 – a 150 per cent rise on the year before.
Maverick was one of seven abandoned dogs that Whitehall owner Brian Wheelhouse saved prior to Christmas after calls from busy wardens.
He told the YEP: “In the 20 years I have been doing dog rehoming since 1992 I have never seen it so bad.”
He said irresponsible owners, unlicensed breeders and a lack of partnership between larger charities and the council are to blame.
Staff at his rescue are working 17-hour days to keep up with the 35 abandoned animals they care for and the constant call outs from both wardens and the public.
Brian said: “We get calls from people saying they can’t afford to keep dogs, then if you ask them if the dogs have been neutered or vaccinated, they have not spent anything and then they turn up in pretty new cars or they’re smoking.
“It’s just irresponsible. When you take on a dog it’s like a child, you have got to see it through to the end.”
Meanwhile Dogs Trust Leeds, in York Road, is full with 120 animals needing homes and it is seeing more owners wanting rid of pets.
A Dogs Trust spokeswoman said: “On a particularly bad day the centre can receive up to 19 separate calls from owners who no longer wanted to keep their pet.
“Money concerns and a change in circumstances are cited as the main reasons.”
She said numbers of stray and abandoned dogs have been rising nationwide since 2008.
A council spokesman said: “Two factors contributing are the financial situation, with people less able to take on pets when their finances are stretched.
“Also, 2011 saw an increase in the popularity of bull terrier-type breeds.”