More than 126,176 dogs were picked up by local authorities over the last 12 months – an increase of 4% on the previous year, which equates to 345 stray dogs being found every day.

The UK’s stray and abandoned dog numbers are at an 11 year high, according to results of The 2011 annual Stray Dogs Survey released yesterday by Dogs Trust.

UK stray dog figures hit 11 year high, says Dogs Trust reportMore than 126,176 dogs were picked up by local authorities over the last 12 months, an increase of 4% on the previous year which equates to 345 stray dogs being found every day.

Sadly, over 6% (7,121) of these strays were put to sleep in the last year by local authorities for want of a home (up 11% on the previous year). This suggests that around 20 dogs are put to sleep somewhere in the UK each day. That’s nearly one dog an hour.

The 15th annual Stray Dog Survey, conducted by GfK NOP on behalf of Dogs Trust, also revealed that a number of dogs were being rejected by owners, who refused to claim them once found and identified by local dog wardens.

This new trend is worrying, claims Dogs Trust, as it suggests that some dog owners no longer view their pet as a valued family member, or have not considered the true cost and responsibility involved with owning a dog.

Clarissa Baldwin OBEDogs Trust chief executive Clarissa Baldwin OBE said: “This year’s Stray Dog Survey is not good news for the nation’s dogs. Not only has there been an increase in the number of strays but the sheer volume of dogs being destroyed – 20 a day – is horrendous.

“A combination of factors has led to this increase such as a high number of unwanted bull breeds, the economic climate meaning some people can no longer afford to have a dog, and a worrying increase in owners ‘disposing’ of their dogs when they no longer want them.

“We work very closely with the local authorities who do their best in a very difficult economic climate. They do not want to put dogs to sleep but they are struggling to cope with such huge numbers of strays and a changing attitude to dog ownership.”

Other figures include:

  • Dogs reunited with their owner due to a microchip fell 4% to 31%,
  • Collar and tag based reunites fall to lowest level ever with just 6% being reunited this way.

Dogs Trust logoAccording to the charity, this highlights the importance of compulsory microchipping, which Dogs Trust continues to campaign for and most dog wardens regard as an essential step to ensure stray figures do not continue to rise.

Dogs Trust research reveals that if Government were to introduce compulsory microchipping it could save the public purse between £20.5 and £22.8 million per year. To incentivise the Government, Dogs Trust will be offering free microchipping at all 17 UK rehoming centre.

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