Feb 14 2013 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
INCREASING numbers of dangerous dogs are being abandoned in Brent and the authorities have no choice but to put them down.
From April to December last year, just nine pit bull-types were abandoned, but this year, in January alone, seven were found and had to be put to sleep.
One dog, who was named Claudia by staff at The Mayhew Animal Home in Trenmar Gardens, Kensal Green, was found tied to a bench in Monks Park, Tokyngton, earlier this year.
She was emaciated, covered in sores and freezing cold and had to be put down.
A partnership of Brent Council, Brent Police, Mayhew Animal Home, RSPCA and Brent Housing Partnership is working together on the Brent Action for Responsible K9s (BARK) project to combat the issue of illegal pit bull-type dogs.
Craig Johnstone, animal welfare manager at Brent Council, said: “I think there is a combination of different reasons why people dump their dogs – money is one reason. In this economic climate it is an easy thing to get rid of. The publicity as well is another reason and others just can’t handle a bull breed, they know that the dog is illegal and don’t want to get caught.”
Pit bull-type dogs are illegal under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and, if found, have seven days to be claimed by their owners or must be put down. It costs Brent Council £270 to care for the dog for seven days and put them to sleep.
Mr Johnstone said: “It is a London-wide problem and we are no worse than anyone else, there are similar sorts of numbers in other boroughs, but from a council point of view I would encourage people not to take on dogs they can’t look after for good, and to be honest. If someone needs help or can’t cope they can ring us and we can help.”
Zoe Edwards (pictured), managing welfare officer at The Mayhew, which takes in strays, said: “It doesn’t matter about their behaviour, they could be the nicest dog in the world but it would still have to be put to sleep.” She said many of the dogs come from estates in the Harlesden and Stonebridge areas.
Mrs Edwards added: “In my time doing this I have seen a lot of lovely dogs that have been put to sleep. It is very sad, you feel like you are mopping up other people’s mess.”
The council offers low cost micro-chipping and The Mayhew provide free bull breed neutering.
n For more details call Brent Council Animal Welfare Service 020 8937 5256 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.