London animal refuge bursting with abandoned pets

A man walks his dog past a residential street sign in London, December 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - It’s not just bankers, businesses and ordinary members of the public suffering from the credit crunch. Animals are having a bad time too.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Britain’s best-known animal refuge center located in south London, said on Tuesday it was at bursting point as some people dumped pets they could no longer afford to keep.

The refuge said it had taken in 6,430 stray dogs so far this year, over a 1,000 more than at the same stage in 2007.

New rules which shifted responsibility for dealing with strays to local authorities from the police are partly to blame but the economic crisis has also played a role, it said.

“The Home believes that the increase has been caused by confusion about where lost dogs are kept because of new legislation and concerns about the credit crunch,” it said in a statement.

“We believe that some people are allowing their dogs to go stray because they can’t afford to keep them anymore.”

The Dogs Trust, a group that promotes the welfare of dogs, produced a list this week of absurd reasons people have given for abandoning their dogs.

One explanation given to staff was “My dog doesn’t match the sofa,” while another was “My black dog doesn’t match the new white carpet, can we swap him for a white dog?”

Reporting by Michael Holden, editing by Paul Casciato