SHEFFIELD is facing an unprecedented rise in the number of abandoned dogs - as spending cuts force families to trim the household budget.
Animal centres across the city are full with unwanted dogs in need of new homes.
Bosses say they are struggling to find space to house the ever-growing number of abandoned animals.
At the RSPCA centre in Attercliffe there is room for 67 dogs - and the centre is full to capacity almost all of the time.
The situation is the same at Sheffield Council’s Spring Street centre and at Thornberry Animal Sanctuary in Dinnington.
So far this year, a total of 190 dogs have been brought into the RSPCA centre - some of which have been mistreated, but some whose owners can no longer care for them due to poverty.
Stella White, general manager of the RSPCA Sheffield Animal Centre, said: “Our aim is to find every dog a new home as long as it takes.
“The average stay is around two to three months, though some of our dogs have been in here for an awfully long time.”
Every dog is treated for fleas and worms, neutered, micro-chipped and given the best health care possible.
They’re walked, fed and, sometimes for the very first time, loved.
But it’s expensive, with the centre paying out more than £1,500 each day to care for them.
And - like the families forced to give their pets up - the centre is struggling to cope financially.
Stella said: “It costs over £1,500 per day to run the centre and we have noticed a dramatic drop in the number of donations coming through the post in the last 12 months, due to the economic climate.
“There are more and more people giving up animals or deciding not to adopt a new animal for financial reasons, which means financially we are more stretched than ever.”
The centre has already launched its annual appeal for tinned animal food - particularly tinned dog food.
Boxes with posters will be appearing in a range of outlets across the city, from local pet shops to supermarkets.
Stella said: “We really need to alert the public to look out for them and to contribute to them.
“It means money currently spent on tinned animal food can be saved and put towards vital things like vet costs.
“During the recession, people really cut back on giving money to animal charities - ironically, this is when we need it most, as more animals are given away as people can no longer afford them.
“We urgently need the support from the people of Sheffield to help us to take in and rehome the ever increasing numbers of animals needing our help each day.”
But busy as the centre may be, no healthy animal will be put to sleep.
“Although we sometimes have dogs with us for a long time we operate a non-euthanasia policy,” she said.
“The Sheffield branch policy is that no animal capable of being rehomed should be put to sleep. Euthanasia is only carried out to prevent unacceptable levels of suffering, in the case of animals which have showed aggression towards people, or as required by the law.”
The Star is rallying readers to support the call by launching a campaign to help find a home for the growing number of abandoned dogs in Sheffield.
Every week we will feature a different dog in need of a loving owner.
If you can help contact the RSPCA Centre via email at email@example.com or call 0114 289 8050.
Check the RSPCA website for available dogs. The site is updated daily.
Visit the centre from 12.20pm to 1.30pm every day except Wednesdays.
Discuss what you are looking for with the staff, who will try to match a dog with owners’ requirements wherever possible and fill in a pre-adoption questionnaire.
Discuss the suitability and rehoming criteria with staff.
Meet the appropriate dogs.
If all rehoming criteria are met, a reservation is put on the dog.
A home visit will be arranged and, if passed, the adoption process can be completed. The process generally takes five to 10 days.
The centre is looking for owners who can:
Provide appropriate accommodation inside a secure home environment.
Ensure that diet, exercise and training requirements are met.
Provide regular veterinary check-ups, including unplanned treatment as is sometimes required.
Provide a ‘forever home’ in a loving, stable environment.