A RYEDALE charity which rehomes abandoned and stray dogs is preparing for one of its busiest times of year.
Ryedale Dog Rescue, which has recently homed its 500th dog – Lexi the Rottweiler – experiences two peaks in numbers of unwanted dogs: the weeks after Christmas and the summer holiday period.
Secretary Rosie Stephenson said the festive season always brings problems with abandoned and unwanted dogs.
She said: “One of the issues we face is people mating their dog to sell the puppies for Christmas presents and then abandoning the mother.
“We have recently taken in a dog that has obviously just given birth and was abandoned as the owners no longer wanted. It happens quite often.”
Rosie said that unwanted dogs often appeared around June and July when the puppies bought for Christmas had grown.
“At first they are cute little puppies but six months on they are fully-grown dogs and no longer fit into the household. The owners have lost interest or they want to go on holiday and then find out how much kennels cost.”
Rosie said they never turned away a dog, whatever the breed.
“There is a never-ending supply of Staffordshire bull terriers. Some have been with us for 16 months and cost thousands of pounds.
“Sadly they have been given a bad name but the majority of Staffies are lovely. It all depends on the temperament of the dog, not the breed.”
Ryedale Dog Rescue was set up in 2005 and became a registered charity two years later.
“We don’t have our own kennels so the dogs are kept at various private kennels and we have volunteers who go and do the home checks and take the dogs out,” Rosie said.
“We also have a fantastic team of volunteers who do everything from putting posters up to making cakes to sell at our charity stalls.”
Rosie said their kennel bill amounted to £500 a week with an annual vets bill running into several thousands.
“It is a constant worry but we are very grateful to all those who give donations both financially and to the shop for us to sell.”
Rosie said they realised they were getting close to rehoming their 500th dog when she looked back through the charity’s records.
“In the first year we rehomed 12 dogs and there are always dogs out there to fill those places,” she said.
“As a rescue charity we have a non-destruction policy and we will never put a dog to sleep unless the vet advises it.
“If it takes two years to find a home, then that dog will stay with us until we find one.”
Ryedale Dog Rescue also neuters all dogs and provides micro-chipping.
“If one of the dogs has a litter, those puppies can wipe out a month of our work,” she added.
“We also stress the value of micro-chipping as some of the dogs which come to us are clearly well-cared for and could be returned to their owner if they could be traced.”
Rosie said none of the dogs cared for by Ryedale Dog Rescue are rehomed over the festive period.
“People don’t have the time to spend with the dogs as they are doing different things, going out more and having visitors. When things get back to normal they find the dogs are hard to settle,” she added.
“But come the New Year, if people are looking for a dog then we would ask them to consider a rescue dog.
“The vast majority of dogs do not have problems and those that have can be easily overcome.
“People should also remember that we will also take back a dog if their circumstances change.
“We would never want a dog to become a stray and our doors are always open.”
For more information phone 07581 324153 or visit www.ryedaledogrescue.org.uk