By Geoff Berkeley 01/08 Updated: 01/08 11:52
HEALTHY dogs dumped by their owners on the town's streets risk being put down as packed rescue centres in the county reach crisis point.
The problem is particularly severe in Redditch where almost one dog a day is picked up, more than anywhere else in Worcestershire.
In the past two months 48 strays have been picked up by dog wardens from the borough and have yet to be claimed.
With rescue centres across the county at bursting point, officials are now facing having to terminate healthy dogs unless new owners can be found.
Pip Singleton, re-homing dog warden for Worcestershire Regulatory Service, said: "It makes me feel very distressed and very upset because I have been doing this job for 20 years and I never took this position on to kill dogs.
"Rescue centres are full but the problem is homes are backed up and we have got nowhere for them to go.
"None of us want to put fit and healthy dogs to sleep but I don't know what else we can do. At the moment all the rescue centres in the area are full as none of the public are coming forward to offer a home to one of them."
Miss Singleton also said the blame lay with people who took on dogs and then shirked their responsibilities by abandoning them.
"The public need to be made more aware of this problem and owners need to be held responsible because they're the ones forcing our hand on this," she added.
"All of those dogs have been owned, they have been fed, looked after and loved at some point in time and yet they are here and no one is coming forward for them. It is ridiculous."
There seems to be a significant problem with Staffordshire Bull Terriers in particular.
Out of the 48 unclaimed dogs in Redditch for June and July a third were Staffies.
Miss Singleton said people often fell in love with the dogs when they were puppied but found they could not handle them as they got older because they need training and socialising.
Anyone who might be able to offer one of the dogs a loving home is urged to call 01527 881 395. Anyone who is having trouble looking after their dog is urged to call the same number for advice and support.
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