Bucknall kennel at crisis point as dogs feel bite of recession
A KENNELS is reaching crisis point after taking in around 20 dogs in three days over the festive period.
Bucknall-based City Dogs Home has experienced one of its busiest Christmas holidays on record as the recession bites into family incomes.
Owner Vicky Phillips is now appealing for donations to help care for the new arrivals.
The 64-year-old, who has owned and lived at the home for about 30 years, said: "It tends to be a lot busier at this time of year.
"Particularly in recent years with the recession, lots of people can't afford to keep their pets anymore and they end up on the street. We also get some puppies that were meant as Christmas gifts."
Staff at the home are currently caring for around 90 dogs, which is close to their maximum capacity.
Vicky added: "We get more families coming to adopt dogs at Christmas too, but we probably get more strays in than we send to new homes. I would like to think people are taking on the advice that dogs shouldn't be given as presents."
The City Dogs Home launched an appeal for unwanted blankets to keep the dogs warm over winter.
Vicky added: "We are extremely grateful for all the support we receive. from people in the city.
"The blankets make a huge difference to keeping the dogs warm during winter.
"We go through the blankets quite quickly, especially with the wet weather."
Mark Scott, a photographer for The Sentinel, collected blankets for the home with a group of friends.
He said: "We wanted to do something practical and we managed to get about 25 blankets. Hopefully they will help keep them warm now it's colder outside."
Stoke-on-Trent City Council's dog wardens respond to around 1,900 calls a year from residents reporting stray dogs.
They patrol the city to ensure unwanted or lost animals are not left to wander the streets.
Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for housing, neighbourhoods and community safety, said: "Our dog wardens worked throughout the Christmas holiday, responding to reports of animals that have been abandoned by their owners, forced to fend for themselves in freezing conditions.
"Before anyone buys someone a dog as a present I would urge them to think long and hard about whether that person will be able to look after it properly.
"Animals take up a lot of time and cost a lot of money. They need regular exercise, feeding, training and grooming."
To report a stray dog, call 01782 234234.