FEATURE: Give a dog a home

West Hall Kennels in Cleadon are in need of space for stray dogs.
West Hall Kennels in Cleadon are in need of space for stray dogs.
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A DOG is for life – it’s not just a fashion accessory.

That’s the message at Cleadon Kennels, which has 42 dogs waiting for a family to call their own.

UNWANTED ... kennels manager Sarah Wilkinson with one of the dogs available for rehoming. Some of the others are pictured inset.

UNWANTED ... kennels manager Sarah Wilkinson with one of the dogs available for rehoming. Some of the others are pictured inset.

Many are Staffordshire Bull Terriers and other terrier breeds bought as status symbols, or lapdogs who have been discarded once the novelty has worn off.

Lurchers are also among the dozens of dogs being dumped by their owners.

“We have no idea why we have had a sudden increase in dogs,” said kennel manager Sarah Wilkinson. “About twenty of them at least are Staffies.

“It’s not that we don’t get people coming in to look at the dogs. On Saturday we had 150 people come in to view dogs, but only three were re-homed.

West Hall Kennels in Cleadon are in need of space for stray dogs. Manager Sarah Wilkinson

West Hall Kennels in Cleadon are in need of space for stray dogs. Manager Sarah Wilkinson

“It’s not that people don’t want a rescue dog, but there’s a stigma attached to certain breeds.”

Cleadon Kennels, in Cleadon Lane, provides a temporary home for animals found wandering the streets of Sunderland and South Tyneside by council dog wardens.

Sarah said: “People look at the Staffies and by pass them straight away. But no dog is born vicious, or born dangerous. It’s the way people bring them up. If you don’t socialise them properly then it will have problems with other dogs but that is no one else’s fault but your own.

“The main problem with Staffies is not that they are aggressive, it’s that they are not good with other dogs because of the way they’ve been raised.

West Hall Kennels in Cleadon are in need of space for stray dogs. Manager Sarah Wilkinson

West Hall Kennels in Cleadon are in need of space for stray dogs. Manager Sarah Wilkinson

“People also don’t realise how energetic they are and how much exercise they need.”

She added: “They can be fantastic pets with an owner who knows what they are doing.”

Sarah says the craze for small dogs who will sit on laps and in handbags has also led to other smaller breeds being dumped.

“People think they want little dogs because they don’t take up much space, but an energetic little dog can take up as much space as a big dog. I think people should come along to the kennels with an open mind. They shouldn’t tar all animals of a certain breed with the same brush.”

•If you would like to consider re-homing a stray dog you can view all available dogs at Cleadon Kennels at their viewing times, 2pm to 4pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Tel. 529 2369.

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