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Sadly, Battersea sees a rise in new ‘it’ dogs

Animal charity Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has seen a 40 per cent rise in the number of Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies being dumped and abandoned at its doors, and the charity is concerned these working breeds are becoming the next must-have ‘status’ dogs in inner city areas.

Huskies and Malamutes are known for running over long distances, and the Home believes people are taking on these dogs with little understanding of their needs or welfare. Already this year Battersea has taken in over 60 Huskies and Malamutes which have either strayed from their homes or been given up by their owners. These include Honey a Malamute who arrived at Battersea earlier this year and severely overweight because her owners could no longer cope and current resident Colleen, a Siberian Husky who arrived at the Home because her owners were moving house.

The Home, which takes in around 14 dogs every day, is urging people not to buy dogs on impulse and to choose a dog not just based on its looks, but how it fits their lifestyle. Liz McWalter, Head of Intake at Battersea explains: “Huskies and Malamutes are very intelligent working breeds and need lots of space and exercise. Because they are working dogs, bred for a specific purpose, they have a very strong instinct to run. They should only be let off lead in controlled environments and in cities like London this poses a serious dog control problem if they are in the wrong hands.”

Battersea is concerned that unregulated websites are also fuelling the supply of these dogs – anyone can go online and buy a Husky puppy, and sadly all too often sellers have little regard for where the animal goes and how it’s looked after. Liz continues: “Huskies are stunning dogs and are very cute as puppies, but they need very experienced and active owners. This, yet again, is an example of Britain’s throwaway society where people are using dogs as a lifestyle status, rather than making an educated decision on what kind of dog suits them. It’s detrimental to the animal’s welfare, and rescue centres like Battersea are left to pick up the pieces.”

Watch out for Paul O Grady: For The Love Of Dogs a new seven-part series on Battersea, every Monday at 8.00pm on ITV1.

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