1,900 stray dogs taken off Leeds streets

PIC: Scott Merrylees
PIC: Scott Merrylees
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Animal rescue charities say they “can’t take any more” after it emerged Leeds dog wardens found almost 1,900 dogs roaming our streets in 2013.

Leeds City Council wardens collected almost double the amount of dogs this year in contrast to last, while more than 230 canines were destroyed by the local authority from January 1 to December 17.

Whitehall Dog Rescue, in Cave Lane, East Ardsley, has seen a “massive increase” in instances where members of the public are calling trying to offload pets, having already booked them in to be put down at local vets.

The centre’s owner Brian Wheelhouse, 52, said: “There are young dogs losing their lives.

People are destroying healthy dogs – how they can do it and just walk away I don’t know.”

The East Ardsley rescue is working at capacity, caring for 35 dogs in its kennels.

Despite this, the council’s record of destroying 233 dogs this year is a three-year low – nearly 730 dogs were returned to their owners in 2013 compared to 430 in 2012.

But Mr Wheelhouse feels that the figures are deceiving given that they do not account for

the increasing numbers of dogs taken directly to the vets to be put to sleep by their owners.

“Every rescue that I know is full to the brim and we are too, we just can’t take any more,” he said.

Mr Wheelhouse, who recently met with senior councillors to discuss the plight of stray dogs, feels a clampdown on free ad newspapers advertising unregistered dog breeders is needed, while all animals taken in by pounds and rescues should be neutered.

A council spokesman said the reason for the rise in the number of dogs collected is difficult to pinpoint.

He added: “Our wardens make every effort to reunite dogs with their owners and where this isn’t possible they will hopefully be rehomed once passed to the kennels we work with.”

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