Following the terrible arson attach at a Manchester dog home last week, where 53 poor dogs lost their lives, it's been incredible to see the generous, heartfelt response in the press and on social media. Many dog lovers across the UK have pulled together and raised an unbelievable £1million to help rebuild the home after the fire. It's a true testament to what a dog-loving nation we are. Or is it...?
It's desperately sad that 53 dogs lost their lives in the fire. What is also desperately sad are the statistics from the annual Dogs' Trust survey which was released last week. The figure that hurt the most was that in the UK, 21 stray dogs are put to sleep every day. Per year, our dog-loving nation puts down approx. 7,805 unwanted dogs a year.
Every three days, we put down 63 healthy dogs; 10 more than were lost in the fire. The fire was serious and an utterly deplorable act, and I hope it doesn't seem I am belittling it, but where's the social media and press attention about the 21 dogs that are put down every day? It's great that The Sun has been involved in the fundraising, but it took a dramatic one-off event to get the nations' attention. When the papers move on to more recent news, we will still desperately need foster carers and new homes for the 7,805 dogs who are killed every year by local borough Councils.
Admittedly their deaths are not carried out by arsonists, but the alternative isn't much less grim. The dogs sit in Council kennels waiting for their statutory seven days to be served. They pine and cry in their gated pens, waiting for their owner to show up. They don't get exercised and they often get confused, depressed, bored, stressed and lonely. And then after seven days, these dogs get driven to the local vets to be sedated then put to death. It's not a fire, granted, but it's not the way dogs should be treated in this nation of 'dog-lovers'.
I whole-heartedly welcome the appeals, media coverage and response that we've seen after the Manchester fire, but I'd also love to see the national press digging deeper to expose the real issue in this story: That innocent, healthy dogs are being put down because humans can't be bothered to look after them properly. I'd like to see proper investigation, prevention and investment on making dog rehoming centres redundant because they are no longer required to deal with the disposable dogs that our society casts aside on a daily basis.