Vet Paul manning has seen and carried out so many cases of euthanising unwanted dogs he has proposed people who abandon dogs should have their benefits cut unless they take responsibility for their own dogs.
Paul Manning appeared in a Panorama episode called Britain’s Unwanted Pets after BBC staff read his letter in the Veterinary Times. In his letter he stated he euthanised 100 unwanted dogs annually, most being Staffordshire Bull Terriers. During the panorama broadcast on August 2nd 2010, it showed Paul euthanising dogs in the garage behind his surgery. He said that he does this to minimise the impact on his colleagues so they are not aware Vets do kill so many healthy animals. He also stated that he feels guilty that he has failed these dogs, but the kennels and rescue associations have done everything they can to re-home dogs, and that the responsibility ultimately lies with the dog owners.
Paul thinks compulsory micro chipping could be one answer. This then connects the details of the owner to that dog and the pet would then be their legal responsibility. If the dog changed owners then the vet could update the details or give confirmation of owner change to the microchip companies. If this method was put in place, and then the dogs owner didn’t take responsibility, any benefits allowed to that owner should be cut. He estimated that approximately half of the clients he sees are on benefits and that this could be a good way to tackle the issue directly.
Battersea dogs home was also featured on the programme, they had a total of 7,866 dogs taken in last year, 2,815 were euthanised and 1,931 of those dogs were deemed healthy but too dangerous to be re-homed. Battersea’s director also agrees with Paul that there is a problem currently in our society where dogs are being bred irresponsibly and not being looked after.
The recession is thought to have had some influence on the problems uncovered by BBC Panorama, with many dogs being abandoned as owners just cant afford the costs for them, such as dog insurance. Welfare is a major issue concerned with people having dogs such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers as status symbols and not thinking about the animal and its needs. The British veterinary Association is currently lobbying the Government to reform legislation surrounding dogs and their welfare.