‘A DOG is for life’ is a well-known saying, but nearly half of all stray dogs in Warwick district have been abandoned by their owners.
Warwick District Council dog warden Vicky Timms has picked up 70 strays over the past year.
And out of the dogs she collected, 33 were left unclaimed by their owners.
Many were also not microchipped, meaning owners could not be contacted.
But the dog warden said she and her team had worked hard to ensure all dogs went to rehoming centres and none had been destroyed.
A council spokeswoman told the Observer: “Councils have a duty to collect stray dogs and out of the 70 we collected, none of them were put to sleep.
“Our staff work very hard in reuniting dogs with their owners and in finding new homes for abandoned dogs. This is achieved by having good relations with other organisations and using social media.”
And rehoming charity Dogs Trust, based in Kenilworth, say abandoned dogs is a ‘huge problem’ across the region, with nearly 9,000 dogs left unclaimed.
Assistant manager John Cullen said: “To learn so many unwanted dogs are left in council kennels across the region should shock us as a nation of dog lovers. Abandoning is simply unacceptable and sadly Dogs Trust’s famous slogan ‘A Dog is for Life’ is as significant as ever. If you are not ready to care for a dog for its entire life, do not commit to becoming a dog owner.
“Authorities can be put in the tough position of being forced to put healthy dogs to sleep due to lack of space and resources. Treating a family pet like a disposable item has to stop.”
The council and charity are calling for all dog owners to get their pet microchipped before chipping becomes compulsory in April 2016.
A microchip is a small rice-sized chip which is inserted into the back of the animal’s neck. It allows vets and wardens to check the address and phone number of the owner if their dog gets lost.
The benefits of chipping were shown earlier this year when police found a stray dog. They called the warden who scanned the pup and through his microchip contacted the owner. It then emerged the dog had been stolen seven years earlier.
The pet and his delighted owner were finally reunited thanks to the dog being microchipped when he was a puppy.
Dogs can be microchipped for free at the Dogs Trust centre in Kenilworth.
Visit www.dogstrust.org.uk to find out more.