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As many of you will know from previous Newsletters, when the only dogs on our waiting list were Staffy types, we realised we had to do more than just rehome those we could. We had already invested thousands of pounds in to saving them, and for want of a better word, other ‘status dogs’ - Bull and Mastiff types and crosses. The numbers of these dogs being bred, sold and ending up in dog pounds and kennels across the country had reached saturation point. F.A.I.T.H. put together a programme to tackle the problem at source. Working with local Councils on our ‘Taking the Lead’ campaign, we fought for years, and still are, to bring about a sensible solution to this very sad situation.
At the same time social networking sites dealing in animals were rapidly taking hold and causing further welfare issues, one of many was to create a medium for easy buying and selling of pets and puppies, encouraging more back yard breeding. To stop prospective adopters turning to, buying from and hence creating demand, we had to rescue dogs other than just Bull types. Throughout England and Wales local rescue charities are coping with all other breeds and cross breeds, again it was only Bull types left on waiting lists or in pounds. When all other types are offered sanctuary and we have our quoter of Bull Breeds here awaiting homes. It was only then that we looked to help dogs from further afield within our islands.
F.A.I.T.H.’s first priority is with local dogs and UK, then those from further afield, we do take in some urgent cases from European countries but as has been said before, we want our work to make a difference. That is why we made a stand over the NNC Staffies. Only by looking at the bigger picture and striving to reduce the amount of animals being irresponsibly bred will animal welfare improve.
It is maddening that government only listen to larger organisations when they should give smaller rescues a voice. We are at the ‘grass roots’ and see the problems and solutions. However, we will continue to lobby and campaign and with your support we will make a difference.
Something does need to be done to stop irresponsible breeding and the growing problems of status dogs, but bringing back the dog licence does nothing to alleviate these problems.
Now lets finish on a positive note, if you own a dog you are twenty percent less likely to visit your doctor. A Mintel report estimates that taxes related to dog ownership, VAT on dog food, accessories etc. contributes over four hundred million to the UK public purse. There are millions of jobs and industries relating to pet dogs. Dogs are great companions and are ‘Man’s best friend’!
Lets stop the ‘anti-dog brigade’ by being responsible. The government go on about wanting responsible pet ownership, but this can only be achieved by responsible breeding. So why won’t they put their words in to action? Are they just waiting for another fatality to happen and then continue to blame ALL dog owners.
Please support us by asking the government to implement our proposals before a knee-jerk reaction sees them introduce a licence which will only punish the responsible owners. Write to your local MP, Lord Hurdley and DEFRA. Together we can make a difference in animal welfare.
Our local RSPCA rung to ask if we could help with a problem that they were unable to deal with at the time. A lad had arrived with an un-castrated male Staffy that had been fighting with his other dogs. At first he said the dog was a stray but later admitted that it was his. The dog had bite marks and was underweight. He also revealed that he had two unspayed bitches and an older castrated male dog. We agreed to see the dog and if possible take it in depending on the circumstances. He arrived with a neighbour and we questioned him at length, we asked if the bitches had been in season and if this was causing the fighting between all the dogs. At first he said “No!” When pushed we found out that his Staffordshire x English Bull Terrier bitch had a litter of six 5 week old puppies (sired by said dog). He insisted that the other bitch, a Rottweiler/Mastiff mix was a friend’s dog that he was looking after and that it had not been mated. He was told that we would take the dog, a large red Staffy who was a little prickly around other dogs, if and only if he brought in the mum and pups. We needed to make sure that both ‘adults and puppies’ got neutered and found good homes. We would only help him if it would stop his use of dogs to make money and not just take a dog that he had used, was causing him problems and that he no longer wanted.
There was much heavy discussion and we mentioned that the Benefits Office would need to be informed of his extra income from selling puppies. We also informed him that breeding animals (to boost income) in council property was in breach the tenancy agreement. The neighbour said that lots of people on their Norwich estate breed their dogs and didn’t know that they were breaking any rules relating to it. Eventually it was agreed that he would bring in the mum and pups the very next morning. We contacted the RSPCA to bring them up to speed and asked that they send an inspector to check on the Rottweiler x Mastiff. They reported back and were happy that she was not in pup and advised the owner on getting her spayed. The other castrated dog was in good health. If once the Staffy bitch is spayed and they would like to adopt her back we were willing to consider it as we would rather they had neutered pets, which would avoid any further temptation to breed ‘pets for profit.’ Sadly they declined our offer even though they had protested about bringing her in because they supposedly loved her so.
Everyday FAITH and no doubt most other rescues are asked to help with unwanted Staffy and Mastiff types. We cannot fill our kennel with just these dogs but we do a lot to help them and will continue to hold money for the ‘Taking the lead’ campaign which is about neutering these types. We do quite well in rehoming many but until the Council and Social housing associations (funded by our taxes and rates) take this matter seriously and put some effort into controlling this unsavoury enterprise that stems from their properties, the problem will continue to worsen.
I am sorry I have to go back to moaning about the Councils and Housing Associations letting us down on our ‘Taking the Lead’ campaign but I will point out again that these puppies were bred on a Norwich City council housing estate, and judging from the neighbours remarks it is common place.
FAITH was left frustrated and angry after Norwich City Council dropped out of the ‘Taking the Lead’ after all our hard work. Although they have now contracted out the Dog Control Service, they are still responsible for their tenants. You can find out about ‘Taking the Lead’ on the website or in our Newsletters, issue 28 and 29. We cannot go on aimlessly try to mop up this spillage when it just continues to flow. We need to mend and stop the leak.
A Staffy’s Lament
Today is just another day - to me they're all the same
I have the worst of genes you see, I bear the "Staffy" shame.
The shame is in our numbers, there's thousands with no home.
Thousands just like me you'll find, in kennels all alone.
My mum was "just a Staffy", my father - well who knows?
Mum, too, became unwanted, as the last puppy goes.
And then begins the process, of money-making deals
A life of "moving on" unfolds, who cares how the Staffy feels?
If you have the cash to hand, the Staffy pup is yours
But Staff pups get much bigger, and have such powerful jaws.
You brought me for your image, thought I'd make you look more tough
I have a boisterous nature, and without training play quiet rough.
If you had thought to train me, with kindness and with praise
You would have had a faithful friend to share your darkest days.
I would lay down my life for you, but you simply cannot see
You make sure you get your money back on what you paid for me.
And on it goes, until one day, I'm no longer worth a penny
No retail for an adult staff - as there are far too many.
So what happens to a Staffy now? Do you really want to know?
Do you care what will become of us, when we leave our final home?
Have you ever thought to wonder, "Where is that Staffy now?"
The "Staffy" has another name; he's become a "stray" somehow.
Me, I was put into a car and driven far away
The door held open, I jumped out, I thought to run and play.
It was with joy and happy heart I turned to look for you
But you drove away with all my trust and a piece of my heart too.
I wondered round for many days before I was brought here.
Now I wait with heavy heart, trepidation and with fear.
Seven days is all I have you see, seven days for you to claim
The little dog that you threw out, for which you have no shame.
This is my last goodbye now my seven days are up
If only more thought had gone into the future of that pup
As the needle empties to my veins I lay down with one last sigh
Sorry that I was born a Staffy, because it means that I must die.
Half the dogs in Battersea Dogs Home are Staffs/Staff Crosses
Three quarters of these will be destroyed!
F.A.I.T.H. had a plan, a plan to stop this slaughter. Unable to cope with the huge rise in the amount of Staffies coming into F.A.I.T.H. as strays via Norwich City Council (due to the indiscriminate breeding of status dogs) It was agreed that NCC (Norwich City Council) and F.A.I.T.H. were to work together on a project called “Taking the Lead”
We were to commence a programme of animal welfare education and neutering. F.A.I.T.H. was to offer free neutering for dogs of social housing, aimed specifically at Staffy types. The council would enforce the rules already in place preventing their tenants from breeding and selling dogs from their homes. There was also to be free microchipping. Although it can be said that not all status dogs are bred in social housing, it is a sad fact that the larger percentage are. Leaflets were designed, reinforcing the rules and explaining about neutering. This was without prejudice, since in the majority of social housing, unlike many private rentals, there is not a ‘No Pets’ policy. Therefore a ‘No breeding of pets’ rule does not breach anyone’s human rights since they already have a privilege often excluded to tenants that have to rent from the private sector.
Together we were going to lead the way forward in the hope that the rest of the country would follow this ’flagship’ idea. How sad then that NCC dropped the project, a programme that had once filled them with such enthusiasm.
Yes two years ago together we could have stopped this. How many lives have been and will continue to be lost until someone does something sensible.
We are still willing to do free neutering and the leaflets are waiting to go. We just need a council willing to work with us, willing to “Take the Lead”, which is not only about dogs but also about caring for all the tenants on their estates.