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Britain's Unwanted Pets - join our discussion

Panorama's Tom Heap offers the following thoughts on tonight's Panorama: Britain's Unwanted Pets.

No one likes talking about about putting dogs down.

The reality is that some animal welfare charities don't like to dwell on such a sad subject out of concern that it might discourage vital donors from dipping in to their pockets.

But in making this programme I got the sense from the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, individual vets and kennels that they have had enough of sweeping the issue under the carpet.

They are fed up of using the needle to destroy society's problem of unwanted dogs. At some risk, they have decided to open up.

What I have seen at Battersea, with the RSPCA and individual animal rescue charities around the country is enormous efforts being made to find new lives and homes for dogs in their care.

There will no doubt be some viewers who will say they should invest even more time and effort but that does raise the issue of where the money for that will come from and where are the homes for those dogs to be found?

The central character in this drama is the staffie - or crossbred Staffordshire bull terriers and other bull breeds.

Like all breeds, most of those I've met are friendly, some poorly trained and a few downright nasty.

But there are so many of them - typically a half to two thirds of all stray and abandoned dogs - they become the focus of attention. And I'll admit to leaving a question unanswered in this film that maybe you can help me with:

How come you can sell staffie pups for £250-£500 and yet rescue homes are full of adult dogs crying out for a home? Why is there such a strong demand when they're babies but such surplus just a couple of years later?

Answers to this or any other comments on the film welcome below.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I have recently re-homed a dog though not a Staffie, but while searching it broke my heart to see the number up for rehoming at various shelters. Something needs doing,they are used as status symbols by the supposedly 'tough guys' until the novelty wears off. I think licensing should be brought back and strict breeding controls brought to bear. They are lovely dogs its the owners not the breed.

  • Comment number 2.

    I have always said there should be a dog licence and renewed every year. I know there will be some with out and will take a few years to get it going but once done it could be like the car tax where police know if the dog is licenced, Your licence number incorperated in the dog chip which I think all dogs should have, then when scanned by police or vets they can see if you have a licence.
    There will always be some that slip through the loop like with car tax and insurence but hopefully it wouldl cut it down alot. Just feel for the poor dogs. May be if you did it for all animals there may be less crulty. We can hope.

  • Comment number 3.

    In May 2002 we got Milly a one year old staffie from Battersea. At the time she had much the same issues as Brandy in the film, I convinced the staff at Battersea that I was able to take on such a dog. I'm sure from what I've read and seen that if we were in the same position now, Milly, would have never come to us. She is 9 now and fading away sadly due to cancer. She has been a wonderful dog to my wife, two small and children and myself. She travelled every day from Southfields to Fulham, passing though bishops park and then at weekends could be seen chasing rabbits around wimbledon common. We moved to Italy a few years ago and Milly has adapted wonderfully. I'm not saying she never issues but with patience we managed to resolve every one.Staffies are brilliant, do anything go anywhere dogs.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am watching your programme as we speak about Battersea, and I am appalled by what I am seeing. I have a 5 month old American Bulldog, I have tried to rehome her thro Battersea as she is not getting on with my male boxer, every other dog she has met, she has liked, but not mine. I was told and I quote "we do not have any room for your dog and my suggestion is, have her put down" unquote. I find that your programme is showing Battersea to be a kind and caring, HAHA, this is not true, they did not care about my dog and I was very very upset as you can imagine, that I was told this!!!! Caring, yeh!!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    I found this episode hard to watch tonight. I think it's disgusting that some staffie's are put down before given a chance. The problem with these dogs is the unfortunate reputation they have and something needs to be done to stop kids buying them. We have an english bull terrier who is a brilliant dog. The seller vetted buyers very carefully. Something I find really frustrating are these little dogs (ankle biters!) can be very vicious and on a few occasions we have had them attack our dog that is on a lead and nothing is done about it. If our english bull bit back we would be penalised. The entire system needs addressing.

  • Comment number 6.

    I have been watching your panorama show and I was horrified and annoyed at what I saw, when the dog shelter did their aggression test why did they put two unneutered males together, I don't understand, of course one dog maybe aggressive their only animals its not fair, get the dog neutered why put it to sleep. many dog trainers have shown in the past that dogs can change, i think a life is worth the hard work and money of training it.

  • Comment number 7.

    We desperately wanted to be able to re-home a rescue dog 2 years ago but were turned down every which way because we worked. The charities we approached would not take into account that we were able come home each day at lunch time. We felt that being working owners we would stand a better chance of helping to save a dog from the worst possible end and yet we were osterasized because we wanted to be able to give an animal a good home.

    We turned to a breeder because we had no other way to have a dog. If a charity wants to re-home animals they need to actaully look at a home and then decide if the potential owners are able to look after a potentially much loved animal not just how much time they can give the animal. Earning homes can obviously give an amimal a better home as they have more to give financially, and will be more focused as they will appreciate coming home to a furry friend, charities don't seem to want to see this.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    i really can't belive this in people who can do this to these poor staffy's i'm an owner to 3 wonderful staff's
    just a flick of a candle light for poor brandy all because the owner did'nt want him or her i really can't belive what i am watching it up set me that there are scum out there that can do that OMG

  • Comment number 10.

    I can't believe how quickly Battersea declare a dog as 'dangerous' by walking a dog in a room on a tense lead, let s dog in a strange enviroment sniff or go near another strange dog, company that with a stranger as a handler, the dog then growls - That's it! It is then put to sleep!!! CRAZY I can't believe in this day and age with all the education available this can happen?!?

    At least they could take dog to neutral territory in a relaxed area and trial them a few times. I know time is limited and they deal with so many but how can they live with themselves - no conscience. So sad, please stop breeding and re home a dog, staffies are the best dogs.

  • Comment number 11.

    what a heart breaking show but one that must be shown! i am out raged people are still allowed to breed these dogs the amount of dogs that put down is a shock.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    Our staffy's are like our kid's it make's me sick that people treat these dog's they way they do i just don't understand it

  • Comment number 14.

    All dogs in Australia are micro chipped and have been for a number of years. Farm and dogs from rural areas are exempt, but I think all puppies have to be sold with a micro-chip. Im not sure of the details or how successful it is, but the British government should look into it to try to reduce this horrendous problem. Surely most dog owners would be happy to pay a small fee if it meant less dogd were killed for no reason.

  • Comment number 15.

    I own 3 lovely staffies, and I am member of the northern staffy rescue who always have dogs needing homes and never put them down unless they are to ill to carry on.
    This issue makes me so mad and upset and sickens me to think of many perfectly healthy SBTs and other dogs get put down every day just because some people are irresposible enough to throw them out or just decide they cant have them any more.
    I am a great beliver of punish the deed and not the breed, any dog can be horrible and nasty and even not dog friendly.
    Should humans be put down for not being human friendly?
    This breed is a wonderful breed when it is own by the correct people who know what to expect and how to train and disipline their dogs correctly.

    With perseverance and time dogs and owners learn how to change and behave around unfamiliar dogs and people.
    My 3 year old SBT has just passed an assesment to become a registered PAT dog visiting sick people in hospitals.

    The destruction of perfectly healthy dogs who may have behaviour issues should not happen they should be homed with people who understand the dogs needs and have been well vetted themselves before taking ANY type of dog home.

    The destruction of dogs, and the the gorgeous bull breeds makes me sick to the stomach

  • Comment number 16.

    i love staffys an am too upset to watch it, why does every1 give them such a bad name, they are lovin gentle an very loyal, and they get on great wit my cats and my grandson, which i dont leave him alone with him, but then i wouldnt any dog, i lost 2 to ill health in 08 who both i rescued an miss them loads, i now have another 3 and yes there rescued aswell, how can they say that there not sure of there temperment, then think best to have them put to sleep, you need daryl a brilliant dog trainer, i just carnt watch the programe, if i won the lottery id av em all, an give em a life,

  • Comment number 17.

    The way that battersea dogs home were shown to assess dogs for aggressive behaviour beggars belief. The dog simply walked to the full reach of its lead. No raised hackles, no growling or barking, no baring of the teeth. A greater understanding of dogs is needed, not a simple minded look at them. Stop blaming breeds and start looking at the people who have the dogs.

    As for battersea, they need to seriously look at how they are assessing dogs and who they are using for those assessments..

  • Comment number 18.

    Maybe these rescue centres shouldn't be so fussy about letting people who live in flats. They won't let you re-home a dog if you live in a flat. I live in a flat and have a dog, she gets taken for a walk 3-4 times a day and is very happy. Why can't people who live in flats have a dog??????? We are responsible dog owners.

  • Comment number 19.

    I am so shocked. I have a dog walking business I know all to well the shocking truth about dogs being thrown onto the street. The town I live in has plenty of staffies and I have to be honest they are usually owned by the local drug addicts its actually very disturbing. I honestly believe we should have to pay for a licence and make the price quite high and most dog lovers would not have a problem paying. The local dog wardens should also be able to stop you on the street and ask to see your licence and check your dog has an ID Chip and if you do not comply the dog is then removed. What a sad state. Two things in life we can do for free have kids and own a pet and this country does not seem to making a good job of either of them at the moment. No wonder I am considering moving abroad.

  • Comment number 20.

    It is unfair to "blame" Staffies but the reality is there are too many of them. As a responsible dog owner I would welcome the re-introduction of licenses but it should not be at a punative cost. However anybody caught offering puppies for sale who is not licensed as a breeder should have the pups confiscated, the bitch neutered or if this is refused this should also be taken away.

  • Comment number 21.

    Sorry I don't agree with Sara-jayne Ruthwells comment regarding people having a dog licence. How would you police it? at the taxpayers cost i expect. Do you really think that the person who doesn't give too hoots about what happens with their dog will pay for a licence? I dont. And what would you do with all the confiscated dogs?

  • Comment number 22.

    Im sorry but i really didnt agree with this program tonight! I have grown up with staffs and have had many from shelters! You should never introduce a male dog to a male dog first every dog owners know you should introduce a female first. Tonights program has really afected alot of people and has probably made them scared off staffs. I dont think you should have shown them putting the dog to sleep that has really affected me! I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW THAT STAFFS ARE NOT A DANGEROUS DOG THEY JUST NEED TO BE BROUGHT UP PROPERLY! I will be sending a written letter of complaint and im sure you will be having alot more i will also be setting up a potition to stop people from showing programs like this again! I will never watch this program again tonight has really affected me!!

  • Comment number 23.

    I've just watched this programme and am disgusted and heartbroken by the way we treat our so called 'man's best friend'. Temperament tests just don't work - just because Brandy apparently 'froze' when almost in contact with another dog does not make her a dangerous dog or unable to be re-homed. She had her natural option of flight taken away from her because she was attached to a lead. I know that I would also freeze if I was in such close proximity to a complete stranger I was unsure of. Please stop using and believing in these so called temperament tests - they just cannot show the true 'personality' of a dog.

  • Comment number 24.

    It broke my heart to watch Panorama this evening and want to thank those involved for bringing this important issue to light. I have rehomed three rescue dogs in total, my current dog is a staffie x, who I adore. It is absolutely disgusting that healthy dogs are put down in this way. I fully believe licensing needs to be introduced and as quickly as possible. Something MUST be done now!

  • Comment number 25.

    There should be more regulation on dog breeding, and only licenced breeders should be allowed. Tonight in my local newspaper alone there are 6 columns of classified ads selling dogs, most of these ads are for puppies, some cross breeds too. If thare are so many unwanted dogs, then control the breeding!

  • Comment number 26.

    I was most disheartened that at no point in the programme was spaying or neutering discussed as the most responsible way of preventing so many "unwanted" dogs. In the US, few, if any, puppies or kittens leave a rescue or shelter over the age of 8 weeks without being first spayed or neutered. Yes, the US euthanises hundreds of thousands (no exaggeration) of dogs and cats every year.
    In the interest of preventing so much over-breeding, a US veterinarian will spay a bitch in heat or just after. When I took in a stray Staffy last year, no UK vet would consider spaying her until she first went into heat and then only after a further three months had passed. That translated into nearly five months of not being able to take her out for a walk since all the male dogs in my neighbourhood were intact. We were attacked three times on one furtive late night walk by a man who refused to put his intact dog on a lead. I am sure than many more pregnancies occur through such situations; she was not bred, by the way.
    Perhaps a combination of licensing (more for intact males) and more focus on spaying/neutering should be considered?

  • Comment number 27.

    We have a staff, Dodger is nearly 8 years old and a full staff, we got him off a drunk who was going into prison for 6 months. He said he would return for the dog after he had served his time but he never returned. We have seen him since and he no longer able to look after him. We have since had the dog chipped and registered him. Although he is a loud playful dog i would not give him up as he is part of the family. He is well behaved and does as he is told. There are too many people breeding for the sake of the money and these are the people who should be banded from ever owning dogs. A fine and a six months ban is not enough.

  • Comment number 28.

    I recently tried to rehome a dog via the RSPCA - I work full time and was made to feel totally irresponsible for considering rehoming. I live in a rural area and can excercise an dog for at least an hour in the morning, 30 mins at lunchtime and an hour plus in the evening plus being home every evening and weekends. I have had 2 rescue dogs in the past which have been extremely well loved and looked after and was appalled and distressed that the RSPCA tonight on televions have put to sleep so many dogs that could have experieced love and affection. I was refused the option to rescue a dos given that teh dog may spend 5 hours asleep in a home of a working person where they have been happily exercised, have a secure home environment and well fed purely dueto th RPSCA's inflexible terms of rehoming.

  • Comment number 29.

    What a sad society we have turned in to. Why buy a dog or keep one and breed with it so irresponsibly I have a wonderful Jack Ruseell Terrier who is part of the family and perfectly behaved with other dogs as she has been properly integrated with other dogs and neutered so that there are no unwanted puppies. I have cried all through this programme out of sadness and frustration, something needs to be done, I agree with sarah jane ruthwell bring back licensing chipping etc and make keeping a dog more of a responsibility to owners this at least may help to flush the bad ones out. Genuine dog lovers would have no problem paying a fee to keep innocent dogs safe and out of 'death row'.

  • Comment number 30.

    cant believe this is happening iwill pay anything for my dog ive had him nine years and he been through everything with me he helped me through depression. we r meant to be a society of animal lovers and this is happening the goverment needs to ban breeding until we get the dog situation under control. something does need to be done i will do anything for my dog, yes i know i cant afford normal vets but luckily i have a great PDSA they do a great deal of work with people

  • Comment number 31.

    i am disgusted to see that one individual can decide the fate of an innocent animal.the man who said that those dogs who showed no signs of aggression at all looked like pitbull type dogs had to be put down what does he know he aint got a clue he is just an idiot who thinks he can play god.

  • Comment number 32.

    I am shocked that the home would put a dog like brandy down. There was nothing wrong with this dog, it showed no aggression toward the other dog at all and it has shocked me to the core that this is allowed to happen in such an organisation. That man did not know what he was doing a good an experienced dog owner could have offered this beautiful dog a home but was not given the chance. I own 2 staffie's, they are inteligent dogs and can be extremely well trained.

  • Comment number 33.

    Well done Panorama, BBC and Battersea Dogs home for taking and interest and allowing the filming of this programme! I really hope it does some good in educating those who are irresponsible and go some way to highlighting the need for more regulation in dog breeding (in fact the breeding of all pets!).

    Its time more programmes like this are brought to the forefront to show the harsh reality many pets face nowadays because of human error and greed for money!

  • Comment number 34.

    I am very happy that PANORAMA has did this film. I am glad RSPCA AND BATTERSEA DOGS HOME AND THE OTHER RESCUE AGENCY had open this issue about - Animals that are unwanted. The UK has to be awaken of this problem. I hope there will be more programs like this as ONLY MEDIA can show what really is going on - regarding abandoned pets. Thank you to panorama and who ever thought out this issue. We public need an eye opener.

  • Comment number 35.

    I was aware of the growing issue espically surrounding staffies and these kind of breeds.
    such a waste to be putting down so many dogs, once again its society at fault and uneducated people with no concern. staffies make wonderful family pets like most breeds but with a wrong family that dont have any knowledge can be disatrous, all these dogs being put down due to being assessed is terrible, iam sure if the dog homes where not so full that some of these dogs would have a chance at being re-homed.

    I think a new law needs to be brought in to stop this getting anymore out of control. it cant be ignored

  • Comment number 36.

    i have a 4month old staffie who i adore it broke my heart on the report i,ve watched tonight.instead of licencing they should stop the public breeding dogs,and therefore puppies and dogs can only be brought from official breeders all other dogs should be neutered/splayed to stop this astrocity from carrying on.only the breeders are allowed to breed the dogs then neuter/splay sothe public cannot.the breeders then can sell to appropiate purchasers at a reputable price not to much else people will want to breed. these people breed for money and not for the sake of the animal.

  • Comment number 37.

    I just got back from Spain where my Grandma lives and she lives in a village with a pub we were at the pub line dancing one night and there was a stray dog running around my Grndma says he had been running around for a few weeks he had got into her garden once whith a tail and it discustes me to say that someone chopped its tail off i think that if anyone thinks it is ok to chop a dogs tail off or remove anything off any animal they are so wrong, we took the dog home we used Frontline to remove the tics he was covered in and now he is doing very well in spain we had to put cream on his tail he NEVER growled at anyone if he was in pain he would just wine. My Grandma rescues several dogs and rehomes them at the moment she has 3 dogs Giz, (my dogs twin) nene( another rescue dog) and we named this one Luke thanks for reading!! :)

  • Comment number 38.

    After watching this programme, furious isn't a strong enough word to describe emotions. After 15 long years, my family had to put down ("DESTROY") my border terrier due to old age and illness, it was one of the hardest things to do IN MY LIFE and now i see dogs, mainly staffys being "DESTROYED" because owners are too selfish to take care of the animals they decided to take in, do they not realise dogs really are there to be by your side for life? they are part of the family, not the garbage!! Laws have to be re-introduced or new laws carried out to ensure people dont breed dogs just for the money, 250-300 for a puppy? these people arnt "accidently" breeding them, once they have their payload the dogs are just part of the trash. Discusting. Deepest sympothys to the staffys and other dogs who are put down because of todays society

  • Comment number 39.

    Although obviously a fact of life, I found tonight's Panorama heart-breaking. Staffies are the most wonderful, caring and loyal dogs you could own and it angers me that today's 'ASBO society' has ruined their image. But I also found it extremely distressing that Brandy from tonight's show was put to sleep for simply showing mild aggression towards another dog. It was clear to see that he was not interested in harming a human, so why kill yet another dog and add to the statistics? In my experience Staffies have never responded well to other dogs, but that does not mean they will naturally attack a human. I feel that the tests shown on Panorama were yet another excuse for kennels to justify putting an animal to sleep. I also wish that more was done tonight to raise opinion of Staffies. If you ask me, all it did was confirm wrong and bigoted opinions that Staffs are dangerous breeds and should be avoided.

  • Comment number 40.

    I was watching this epasode with my 14 year old daughter when she saw about the dogs being put down, she went berlistic (we have a staffy) my daughter thinks that even though the dogs didnt get on with over dogs, there are ways that can be fixed e.g the dog whisperer.

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm a 6 year old rescue Staffie, an ex stray, with no history and a lot of issues, ALL courtesy of my treatment at the hands of humans. Since being rehomed I have completely changed character because I am lucky enough to have found a human who understands dog psychology and who loves me unconditionally. It breaks my heart to see so many of my kind being victimised and abused at the hands of those who don't deserve to own us as well as the media. You won't find brighter, kinder, funnier or more loving dogs anywhere. We are, in the immortal words of Tina Turner, simply the best. Just because dog licences didn't work before doesn't mean they won't again. Isn't it you humans who say "if at first you don't succeed, try and try again"? Please sort this problem out. If not for my sake and that of my friends, do it for yourselves. No-one likes a quitter.

  • Comment number 42.

    WE bought a rescue dog almost four years ago. They said he hated other dogs. He'd spent almost his entire life in kennels, even when he was homed he was in a run with a rottweiler.
    When we first had him he barked at and went for other dogs. We realised he only did that when he was pulled back. Since then he is good with most dogs he meets. He is dominant,i.e sort of alpha male. But no way is he aggressive. If he'd been at Battersea, like Brandy he would have been put down because he pulled towards another dog. And who's to know whether it was purely dislike for the dog he was being introduced to,rather than aggression

  • Comment number 43.

    in january of this year me and my partner wanted to rehome a dog from gables farm cats and dogs home. we filled out the paper work only to find out at the desk that because we lived on the second floor of a block we were not allowed to. we have a huge park down the road from us and expressed this and that we would take the dogs for walks everyday but the lady said because we didnt have exclusive use of a garden we couldnt have 1. this is despite the farm crying out that they were to overcrowded with dogs and that they could not take anymore without some being rehomed or destroyed. i just feel that me and my partner were willing to save a life of a dog and give it a loving home like it deserves but instead it has probably been destroyed just because of a silly rule that says unless you have exclusive use of a garden you cant rehome a dog.

  • Comment number 44.

    I think its great that this matter has been brought to light, but what has not been said is that to go to the rspca and all animal shelters there is a charge of roughly 150-200 pound to take a dog home and even more expensive to take a puppy home. Maybe this is the reason why people choose to purchace a puppy from a breeder than a dog from a home, not very nice i know but true! Also the checks that they have to do for you to take home a dog or puppy are quite strict and take alot of time, i understand that these rules are there for good reasons but cant they change the rules and maybe sign a disclamer then maybe the poor staffie that they killed could have gone to a home, to where the new owners would have more time to train the dog! Dogs are amazing animals and deserve better than to be treated like this.

  • Comment number 45.

    Well I am discusted with the program tonight showing a dog being put down on tv that's really cruel then showing it being shoved in a bag have some respect, I am a massive dog lover and own a rotti and a staff which both breeds have bad names, this really annoys me as not all dogs are agressive, that poor dog didn't do nothing in that parade I mean if it jumped up and attacked then you could say it was nasty, how can a dog be put to sleep coz of that, humans do not get put down if they don't like another human so why should that of happened the bloke was smoothing him fine it was not nasty not all dogs get on, dogs cannot exactly speak so there way of communicating is barking, my dogs bark don't mean there going to rip another dogs head off, it's apauling you can put that on tv showing a dog being killed it's a disgrace poor thing, I personally contribute towards dogs homes to help and I got 2 of my own, reason dogs end up in kennels is due to there iresponsible owners, getting dogs then decide they can't be bothered with training it's wrong, I love my dogs dearly they are my world and I will look after then until the last second of there life, dogs are like humans they have personalitys, I mean if ur children were bad ie fighting, taking drugs, doing bad things you wouldn't put them down, it's the sane when there's articles about dogs eating kids well owners should take the blaim you should never leave them with children un supervised remembering kids can pervoke dogs and they can't exactly say "go away ur annoying me" I'm so angry at this program I think it's so wrong to show that on tv really you should have some respect, I hope that dog comes back to haunt poor little thing there was no need to show that, people will more than likely follow that now thinking it's the right thing to do, sorry but that is so wrong !!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    I work in an animal rehoming centre an I deal with this problem every day. The hard bit is trying to remind yourself that 90% of the dogs you are helping and finding a loving home. Its the other 10% that really brings you down and hurts. You start out in jobs like these because of your love for the animals, its sad that you end up having to be there for the last minutes of their lives, thats not why we do our jobs. Why should we be the ones that give these dogs there last days of dignity, respect and love. We do it because we care and there are far too many dog owners out there who don't. You just live for the good days when you hand over a dog to a new loving owner, it makes the bad days slightly easier.

  • Comment number 47.

    i found the programm heart breaking iv has staffies for over 20years n i would not have any other bread of dog my heart gose out to all the kennels that have to try n pick up the dogs that people have just kicked out just cos the no longer fit into the life style n i agree that sumthing has got to be done to stop all this n they need to get to the people that treat their dogs as rubbiah instead of the loveing n careing pets they can be .I just wish that i had the money to start up a place where any unwanted staffie come come to so they can have a happy n loveing life they all should have

  • Comment number 48.

    I am not shocked at this programme at all - god forbid and i hate myself for saying it but i am kind of relieved that so many staffies are being put down rather than roaming the streets. I say this in the knowledge that i took a week off work when my dogs died and i loved them dearly. I am a dog lover but live in Clapham. I am so tired of the sight of young men with staffies walking them off the lead looking aggressive walking down our streets. They maybe well trained in certain instances but as a mother of a 3 yr old and a 1yr old my biggest fear is that they will be attacked by one of them - children dont know whether they are friendly or not - this is such a huge inconsideration to our children that are fearful of dogs. I cross the street every time i see them as they look so menacing - of course there are responsible owners who believe their dogs are well behaved but remember the passer by does not know this. They have actually made me scared of dogs and i do everything to avoid them. I am not sure why every young man in Clapham has to be seen with a staffie. When is the government going to act - licensing does not work - at least ensure they are on a lead in a public place. Thank god Clapham Common has dog free areas or my children would not enjoy open spaces....

  • Comment number 49.

    I feel strongly that it is not only the owner who is totally responsible for their dog, with it's success or failure in life, but the root of the problem is the breeder. Because of the wrong direction a large amount of Staffies have ended up in, unscrupulous breeders need immediate and severe attention from the authorities. This would surely help ease the fate of these poor dogs, that should not have been born into the society, and wrong hands. This situation will escalate out of control without action soon.

  • Comment number 50.

    Hi I just like to say i own three dogs. one 16 year old stray staff(common I know).A 9 year old golden retriever cross, again once a stray.
    And tich a 3 year old mongrel staff type.
    I just felt I should say I purchased tich second hand. Not because they where trying to make a profit just because her face was the wrong shape.
    Many years later shes grown into a small extremely peculiar looking animal and nothing like a staff she was sold as.
    I do know in the back of my mind if i hadn't picked her up that day she would probally have become medical waste.sad.
    The problem in my opinion isn't all the staffs,it seems to be peoples lack of commitment and dedication, not just to there animals,but probally to there children as well.

  • Comment number 51.

    i can hardly type i have nt stopped crying ,them poor dogs so healthy such a waste of life , and its people letting this happen ,the goverment want to do something asap about this ,im up for protesting this issue .there should be a band on breeding and a hefty fine for people breeding dogs . If people want a dog then get one that really needs a home ....something needs to be done and this issue needs to be not forgotten so easy . them poor dogs ,im heart broken to what they go through and treated like there worth nothing .a dog offers so much love something better change in the law and fast ...

  • Comment number 52.

    ALL dog breeders should be registered with or licensed by the Kennel Club (or some other body) and extreme care should be taken over who is registered as there are still too many puppy farms.

    Random breeding from 'pet' animals would ideally be illegal - although I realise that this would not be practical.
    It should be strongly discouraged at the very least since it causes much hardship and pain.

    There is currently a popular movement towards 'DLRC' registration - where sub-standard alleged 'pedigree' pups are 'registered' and marketed to an ignorant public who assume that this 'registration' confers respectability.

    We homed a blind pup, bred from sub-standard pedigree stock and she died from liver failure before her second birthday. Her father is still being extensively used as a stud, not sure about the mother. Her last days were spent in hospital - not exactly ideal for a baby. Fortunately, she was not sick for long before this.
    I will never forget having to say goodbye to such a young dog - easily the worst experience of my (not very short) life.
    Had her parents' owners considered whether they were really making a contribution to the breed by having a litter this could have been so easily avoided.

    Dogs should not be regarded as an easy way to make money and their rights and feelings are no less valid than ours - it is time that our exploitation of, and discrimination against, other species ceased.

    The misery caused to these animals is totally unacceptable - or should be.

    PLEASE don't breed from your pets - leave it to those who know what they're doing.

  • Comment number 53.

    I have just watched tonights Panorama and admire all the staff that work in any dogs & cats home, I am a animal lover and when I had to put my 16 old year springer spaniel & 17 year old cat to sleep 2 years ago as they both had cancer, I cried for nearly 5 months until I got another springer. I think licences should again be reintroduced and renewed yearly, it will show the true animal lovers as they will pay and do anything for their pets. As others have said it is not the dogs fault it is the owners, a dog will only behave in the way they are treated good or bad. Give a dog love and it will love back.

  • Comment number 54.

    Its a shame to see so many dogs being put down. I have always got my dogs from resacue centres and wish more people would do the same.
    Hopefully the government will be able to come up with a solution on how to stop this.

  • Comment number 55.

    I totally agree that this problem should have been highlighted and as the owner of 3 beautiful Staffies, found the programme upsetting. What makes me so angry though, is that because I have 3 dogs and 2 children I would not be allowed to re-home a dog that needs one. My dogs are the soppiest I have ever known and are brilliant with other dogs, children, and adults. Why not give us the chance to teach another dog this behaviour!!

  • Comment number 56.

    Hi, I rarely post my thoughts online but after tonight’s panorama I felt I just had to air my views.
    I had a Staffie (Meg) who I sadly lost when she was 4 due to cancer. I had grown up with dogs (my parents had a German Shepherd when I was born) but Meg was my first staffie. She truly was the perfect dog with a gentle, loyal and loving temperament. As stated by others, they are used as status symbols by some people for completely the wrong reasons. As Meg proved, the staffie breed is a lovely dog and they make fantastic pets. It's people who have them for the wrong reasons or train them to be aggressive which has led to this very sad situation.
    Please let something be done to help this awful state of affairs. Aren't we supposed to be a nation of animal lovers???

  • Comment number 57.

    It is all very well trying to bring back a dog licence. I remember getting one in 1988 just before it was abolished. It was 37p (knocked down from 37.5p!)

    Bringing in a licence and microchipping is all very well for those of us who care for our dogs, we microchip anyway and will pay for a licence should it be re-introduced.

    The problem is the so called owners who treat their pets as material commodities; to throw away as required. As the guy at the RSPCA said, "More attention is paid to a tv licence than any living thing."

    If a dog licence (with microchipping) is re-introduced, then it HAS to be made enforceable. Just like tv detectors who can spy and gain entry with the help of the police just on 'suspicion' of someone having a tv without a licence, then surely we have to have enforcement officers too. Even if it meant checking every single home in the country as a mandatory check for doggie evidence, it would show that the government means business and perhaps the back yard breeding will reduce dramatically.

    I volunteer to be one of the first to be a dog licence enforcement officer. Funding must be made available for this type of job. If this actually happens, surely the money paid for enforcement officers would be well spent and actually save money in the long term.

    Please, something has to be done for all the poor dogs (and all the other animals being thrown thrown away). Bringing back the dog licence will not work on it's own. That's a fact. Why do you suppose it was abandoned in the first place?

  • Comment number 58.

    I apologise for irrelevance of this comment and I understand that this is a sensitive issue, but does anyone know the name of the song starting at 3:14 and ending at 3:33 in tonights program. Many thanks.

  • Comment number 59.

    I watched the programme tonight which really upset me. I know myself how cruel people can be when it comes to dogs as my we tobytyler was dumped out of a car window he wa srunning down a main road after the car when my mum and dad stopped and picked him up,but all i have to say is that he is the best thing in my life i love him to bits I wish the government and the public could do more to stop dogs being destroyed I hope that loads of people watched this tonight to see what a disgrace this is thanks panorama for highlighting this heartbreaking problem

  • Comment number 60.

    The comment at start says there fed up using the needle but they can show it on live tv soooo wrong

  • Comment number 61.

    I agree with equalityforanimals that the way Battersea decide what dogs to rehome and what dogs to destroy is absolutely crazy. I have three german shepherds and if you took one of those to a strange dog whilst on a lead, they would not come across as particually friendly. It is not fair to give them a death sentence because of this one reaction. Batersea should know better. We have also just lost a staffy through old age. He was a sweetheart. I think they are all getting tared with the same brush. We are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers. Sorry Battersea and the RSPCA but I think you are letting these dogs down badly. I don't know how you can sleep at night.

  • Comment number 62.

    As a dog owner, I would be happy to pay for a license if the income from that was used by the government for prosecution of irresponsible owners, enforcement of licenses and education on how to be a responsible owner.

    Seeing those beautiful dogs being put to sleep and going to their deaths with their tails wagging broke my heart. Surely we can do something more than destroying them

  • Comment number 63.

    i cant belive they put that lovely staffy brandy down ... what did the dog do wrong . its in a strange place ... that one test with the dog and thats it the dogs put down ... its wrong ... the dog showed no aggession what so ever . one man decides how his feeling about it and thats the dogs life gone .. more needs to be done . im so sad and mad about the whole thing . the goverment best do something soon about this the sun news paper should do a protition on this matter

  • Comment number 64.

    My partner and I (both teachers) tried to responsibly rehome a dog nearly three years ago from the SSPCA. On visiting their Glasgow centre, we were abruptly told that we were not eligible to rehome a dog as we were out of the house for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time. I can't remember exactly how long their recommended time away was, in part, because I was shocked that staff were busy trying to rehome two unrelated black labrador cross-breeds to a lady in a wheelchair while we were there (at home all day I believe from conversation at the time). We live in a country location (lots of walks), only 3 minutes away from our places of work and had much to offer a dog, or so we thought. While we realise policies are there for a reason, common sense should have prevailed. In part, certain rescue organisations should review their policies and consider rehoming on a case by case basis. As a result, we opted to go to a breeder and now have a wonderful 2 1/2 year old spaniel who loves his lifestyle, walks, treats, and most of all, us. It still saddens us however that we could have "saved" a dog - where we had no preference on breed - which is why tonight's Panorama upset us so much.

  • Comment number 65.

    It is a disgrace that humans supposedly the most inteligent spieces on the planet feel it is acceptable to get fed up of any animal and just dump it,if this were babies everyone is in uproar. The athorities need to step up and take action against breeders. dog lisencies should be brought back. i also think homing centres should not make it so hard for people to re-home dogs. i know alot of people who have tried to rescue dogs and have been turned away, these people then simply go and get a puppy adding to the problem. i have worked in a re-homing centre voulentarily and it is heart wrenching however we never put a heathly dog down.
    i also disagree with the distruction of any dog that is pit bull type each dog should be judged on its temperament not its look or portential.
    Maybe there should be education in schools to teach children what happens to these animals. If they had field trips to rescue centres, although it maybe upsetting those images would stick in their minds and prahaps as adults they might think harder before taking on the responsabuility of being a pet owner.

  • Comment number 66.

    I only caught the last few minutes of this program as I get easily upset watching anything regarding suffereing and misfortune of animals. The last few minutes were distressing enough to make me feel absolutely incensed. I agree totally about enforcing dog licencing, there also needs to be some accountability from the people out there that are breeding snd selling dogs to unsuitable people! If I was selling a staffie and a baseball capped chav turned up at my door, he would be given his marching orders!
    Also there are too many ignorant bone idle types (i hate to stereotype but quite a number live in council houses)that don't bother to neuter their pets and end up with a house full of puppies. More laws and regulation is needed even perhaps something like making it law forbreeders to have to neuter a dog before selling it unless some sort of application is made with a good reason not to neuter the dog.

  • Comment number 67.

    I have just watched this episode and whilst I agree this problem needs to addressed, I found the documentary to be very one sided and not a full scope of the situation was covered.
    I myself am a Staffordshire Bullterrier owner, I believe I am a responsible owner, my dog (Boo) was bought from a Kennel Club Registered Breeder she is taken to the vet regularly, she is micro-chipped and kept up to date on vaccination's. Boo is a bitch so I had Boo spade when she was six months old, I did not want to bread her, I am not an experienced breeder so I will not bread, if I want another dog I would find another registered breeder. Also by having Boo spade at 6 months old or before she comes into her first season this eradicates pretty much any chance of her developing cancer (quite a positive point and well worth mentioning in the documentary).
    I had her spade at The Mayhew Centre in West London where they perform the procedure/operation for free for the Staffordshire Bullterrier Breads or you can make a small donation if you wish. This procedure/operation can cost from a vet between £200-300.00 so The Mayhew Centre is doing a great positive thing in tackling this problem - again not mentioned in the documentary? I walk Boo regularly and socialise her daily with other dogs/breeds.
    Staffordshire Bullterrier's are a very popular bread in the UK maybe even the most popular, why?
    Because they are one of the best all round dogs. Great with people & children, loving nature, playful, protective (more positives again not reported in the documentary) maybe there only flaw is they do not always get on with other dogs but this behaviour can be corrected by the owner with dog socialising.
    You mentioned in the documentary that it was a problem with all bull breeds, why were there only Staffordshire Bullterrier's pictured? I saw one other bull breed dog and that was a British Bullterrier. What about Bulldogs, Pitbulls?

    Basically I am pleased you have done the documentary but I am also very annoyed and upset that the story was so one sided and discriminating against Staffordshire Bullterrier's and there owners.
    You did not cover and tell the whole story, why wasn't someone like me a responsible Staffordshire Bullterrier owner interviewed? People will think we are all the problem now. What about the Governments report and decision it could have had a bearing on there decision? Will I a responsible Staffordshire Bullterrier owner now be punished for the irresponsible owners and this problem.

    I will be happy to discuss this matter further with you and you can even put this right by interviewing me and my dog. I will look forward to your response.

    Regards James Colbourne

  • Comment number 68.

    Watching this programme has made me upset and angree. I hav had staffys all my life and they are loveing and wonderful dogs. Why should an healthy staffy or any other dog get put down because of uncaring owners. Dogs are not for money they are for life, it makes me so angry that owners would breed dogs just for money, there should be a stystem in place to track down on owners breeding just for money and band from having any type of animal. A dog shouldn't be put down just because it doesnt get along with other dogs, with time and care the dog will get used to around other dogs.

  • Comment number 69.

    Thank you for your comments. For more information on Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and the issues raised in tonight's show, please visit our website:


    In the case of Brandy, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier shown on tonight’s Panorama programme, Battersea’s team of behavourists carried out extensive assessment, behavioural work and reassessment of the dog over a period of time. The programme shows only a snapshot of this work done to help this dog and does not detail any of the more obvious signs of real and consistent aggression shown by Brandy towards other dogs. This is regrettable, as the risks of rehoming this dog would have been clearly obvious to viewers. We would stress that any decision to put a dog to sleep is never taken lightly by the staff who work here at the Home and that we do all we can to help all the animals in our care.

  • Comment number 70.

    Good to see so many people taking an interest in the programme. Very sad situation and poor staffies always get a bad reputation and its simply not the dogs fault. Lets hope all the good responsible dog owners can unite and do something positive about this situation. Best wishes to all the great dog lovers out there. x

  • Comment number 71.

    I watched this show tonight in complete dismay that there are so many neglectful dog owners out there. That poor dog and others alike will be destroyed uneccesarily. I have 2 staffy x and a german shep and we all live together with my son as a happy family. These idiot lads that get these dogs as status symbols should be dealt with

  • Comment number 72.

    I am an animal lover and i adore staffs. When i was lookiing for a staff I was looking through Battersea dogs and Cats Home and RSPCA but unfortunately I couldn't adopt as I live in a flat. My point is that expectations are a little too high. I understand that expectations have to be high to prevent the pet going into the wrong hands but they are alot of owners like me that are and will be good responsible owners. I think the licence should be brought back and I hope that all these problens are cut down.I hate seeing irresponsible owners bringing their dogs up to fight and breed for more fighting. Also i think that when Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the RSPCA allow people to adopt, there should be regular visits at least for a few months to make sure that the pet is settleing in well and to make sure the owners are bringing them up well.

  • Comment number 73.

    I watched this panorama episode with great sadness, i couldnt beleive how many dogs get destroyed each year and that doesnt even address other pets such as cats that are also destroyed each year.
    Something really needs to be done, im not sure that a license is the way forward, but there has to be something we can do to stop irresponsible owners getting hold of/breeding/abandoning animals. I was close to tears seeing these dogs put down purely because of their breed.
    Please Lets find a solution and stop these helpless animals being murdered.

  • Comment number 74.

    It broke my heart to watch panorama tonight. It makes me sad to see any animal being put down, but being put down because their isn't enough room for stray dogs and are healthy, thats just sick. I think staffie's have got a bad name by irresponsible owners. Its not the dog's fault. I have a staffie, he's getting old now but he is the most wonderful dog ever. Staffie's are family dogs NOT an accessory for a yob!

  • Comment number 75.

    I posted a comment earlier dont know what happened why it was not shown. Well ill try again the show really upset me tonight but thats what has to be shown to let the breeders see where there dogs are ending up but to me all they think about is money.My little man tobytyler is a terrier and he is crazy but i love him so much he was dumped out of a car window which i think is adisgrace how could someone do that as for the staffies they are a really cute dog and its sad that young boys think they are hard cause they have 1, the goverment and the public need to do more to stop this happening with cats and dogs

  • Comment number 76.

    It wouldn't do any harm for Battersea to employ a proper dog behaviour expert. That "assessment" was extremely amateurish and cost a dog's life. If that's how they do it than they make tragic mistakes on a daily basis.

    They could also work with a few really good trainers to help the dogs become more rehomable.

  • Comment number 77.

    I feel extremely sorry for the poor dogs in the programme however no mention was given of the innocent dogs killed and injured by 'out of control'dogs on our streets. We have an international reputation of poor dog control and probably now one of cruelty as well! I blame the politicians both local and national for ignoring the problem ,being afraid and in some cases poorly motivated.I have wriiten to my MP several times about the problem and to be fair he has responded but it seems a hopeless task!..we dont even have a dog warden where I live!

  • Comment number 78.

    I think you had a bit of a downer on Staffies, but with some justification. All dogs can be agressive, from the tiny to the huge. The most significant point raised was the problem is irresponsible dog owners, casual breeding. The chap you interviewed who had a litter made no effort to check the suitability of his bitch for the dog his 'mate' bought round. So how more iresponsible can that be. And I know from experience that is the way it happens through the Staffy world. I have had Staffies for over 30 years and they are the most intelligent of all the breeds. But they do not suit everyone and I am so angry when I hear of youngsters who get hold of what they have been told is a Staffy to use as a macho symbol. Most of the dogs in this category are not true Staffords, probably never registered with the Kennel Club, and they are the ones who give such a bad name to everyone who has a proper Stafford for a pet. They are family dogs.
    The advert for puppies at £950 was simply due to the coat pigmentation - blue. And it was my dog which was responsible for making the colour so popular with the general public and so hated by many breeders and breed club officials. You cannot breed them to order but so many try that their numbers have increased and their conformation with the true breed standard diminished considerably. It was just another case of people trying to make a quick buck. Casual back street breeders with no real consideration for the breed. Its money that creates the problem.
    I asked my MP if he had any thoughts on the situation over a year ago. So far I have had no reply. I do not think the licence is a solution. It would be a problem for older people who simply have a dog as a companion throughout the day. But I think that all breeders should be registered. Get rid of casual breeding. And all puppies sold to non-registered breeders should be neutered before they are handed over to a new owner. And every dog to be micro chipped. At least there is accountability.

  • Comment number 79.

    James Colbourne i totaly agree with what you have just said! I would also be happy to be interviewed!!

  • Comment number 80.

    After watching the fate of the brown staffie, I am really shocked. It was not even very reactive towards the other dog. staffs are renowned for not liking other dogs and as a staff owner, I keep my dog on a lead. A responsible owner would do this and the reaction of that dog would not have put me off adopting it. It is down to other people to keep their dogs away from mine. Having a dog on a lead is a sure sign that they are not very sociable so who is to blame if both dogs meet? Not the one on the lead that is for sure. staffs are very lovable and very good with children and I happen to know for a fact that more people are bitten by Labradors, but that is never highlighted!!! Its a shame Staffs have such bad press when it is the owner that should be held responsible.

  • Comment number 81.

    I work as a dog warden for my local council, this programme shows what it is really like. It is heartbreaking to be picking up dogs that may end up being put down. People need to realise the responsibilities of owning a dog and there has to be stricter controls on not just "status dogs" but all dogs. No one should get a dog if they cannot afford to look after it properly, or they haven't researched the type of dog they are getting. People live in a "fairy-tale" world where they think you can rehome a dog so easily and that there is a never ending pot of money to do so - when will people realise owning pets is a big responsibility. I could go on forever about this but I hope the government does something to reduce the problem, not to the detriment of the dogs but to the "throw away" dogs mentality of a lot of society now.

  • Comment number 82.

    This show upset me as I have contacted rescue homes to adopt Staffordshire bull terriers to ensure that they get a second chance but when we tell them we have three Staffys already they tell us we can't although the pets we have are perfectly adjusted to family life and we have raised them all from pups and the vet have contacted the rescue home and said how well we take care of dogs and they still refuse. Proving that the government need to stop worrying about taxes and sort problems such as this out

  • Comment number 83.

    Firstly, I have to say well done to the BBC for making this public.

    BUT...the temperance testing was minimal to say the least - at least do it on neutral territory, over several tests with a dog of the opposite sex first, then build from there.

    The need to put such animals to sleep is questionable, BUT, perhaps they are following the USA - they have huge issues with pit bulls, so they generally get euthanised rather than rehomed as you cannot guarrantee their temperament (As you don't know if they've been fought or used as bait for fight training) & as you cannot fully know what will 'push their buttons' so to speak, & to be honest, in defence of the rehoming charities, there are so many animals which need rehoming, they have to draw the line somewhere.

    Licensing & chipping are a start, but unless you make breeding a registration only process, then you will never really deal with the problem, as any little so-and-so can get hold of one & breed & sell to mates for status symbols, especially with breeds like SBT, German Shepherd, Rottweiler & Doberman - 'Hard Dogs' - mind if you saw my GSD rolling on the floor being tickled by a toddler you may change your mind about the 'hardness' of the breed (always under supervision - ALL dogs, regardless of breed have the ability to damage).

    It is also a mistake to see small dogs as harmless - they have the tag 'Ankle biter' for a reason. My mother was bitten by a Jack Russell, whilst on a campsite a year ago - said dogs are owned by a chap who generally gets drunk in his campervan & lets them out for toiletting needs - we don't take our dog on holiday as he loves his break at my parents, BUT if said dogs are on the loose next week, as I have a toddler who loves animals (but is also wary), I will be ringing the police & dog warden to remove them as they are clearly poorly socialised to people & other dogs (one attacked the site owners dog earlier this year) & the ability of the owner is clearly impaired due to alcohol intoxication.

    As for the RSPCA - bunch of, well, can't say in polite society - so they reckon they only put down 518 healthy dogs - BALDERDASH - they are known in my area to put down well kept birds of prey who were well cared for in a sanctuary, well fed & other than being unable to survive in the wild, there was no issue, so don't set me on about them - can't stand them, would rather go to a local rehoming charity & give them funds as opposed to the blooming RSPCA - & I know many other people who feel like that too. they need to change their rehoming policies so animals go to the best home for them,& not penalise good, loving homes for working for a living.

  • Comment number 84.

    Monday of last week I witnessed for the 2nd time in a year a staffy attack another dog. This time the dog that was attacked - a yorkshire terrier did not stand a chance - the staffy dropped the dog when it had finished killing it - as you can imagine it was not a pretty site. The owner a young boy of about 20 just left the park with outcaring for the owner or the dog something does need to be done - owners are responsible for their dogs - they should be micro chipped - every dog - and if not the dog taken away!!
    This is serious - because one day it might be a child! The police were not interested or their hands are tied, the first time I witnessed a staff attacking a greyhound - their view was that if a person was not hurt by the dog then they could do nothing!

  • Comment number 85.

    I suggest that the answer to this problem is to license the breeder. Make the responsibility of vetting the owner and ensuring that no dog sold can be used for breeding unless the new owner has a license is down to the breeder.

    Any breeding that takes place where the breeder does not have a license has the dogs removed from them. This would need legislation but could cut down on the money needed to deal with this problem of which some comes from the Council Tax payer.

    Charities and Veterinary practices need also to take responsibility for ensuring the public are educated as to the responsibilities that come with owning a dog.

  • Comment number 86.

    I breed staffordshire bull terriers and am a member of the southern counties staffordshire bull terrier society. I have two staffords, mother and daughter. Unfortunatly the programe makers did not get in contact with any proper breeders or the kennel club, most of the dogs shown on the programme were not staffords but were crosses if you go around calling everything with a tail a stafford of course there are thousands of them.
    someone needs to show people what a stafford actually looks because there is a lot of confusion out there, also the aggression test was the most stupid thing i have seen as if you have a dog on a lead when meeting another dog they atomatically feel under threat. I am so fed up with ignorant people with little or no knowledge of the subject pontificating!

  • Comment number 87.

    I watched the programme tonight with interest but think you are missing the point! It has been a well know fact now for a number of years that the charities who take in stray dogs have been over-run with too many dogs to rehome, it is something that will not change unless the root of the problem is resolved and something is done about the people who breed all these puppies! I know people who have litter after litter of dogs and who brag that their stud dog earnes them thousands of pounds a year, they earn more breeding dogs in a year than I earn working a full-time job yet they do not have a breeders licence and the local council will not do anything about it! If breeding dogs was regulated then there would be less puppies about and therefore less stray dogs! Trying to licence dog owners will end up like everything else that is licensed and the people who want to evade it will, the honest ones will stick by the rules and license their animals. How on earth would licensing of the dogs be poilced??????? It would never work! The irresponsible breeders who do it soley for financail gain need to be sorted out first!

  • Comment number 88.

    I have just watched your programme about the plight of unwanted pets and I was horrified! But from personal experience trying to re-home a dog if you work in nigh on impossible and as it costs about £140-£160 it is not cheap either so how can you afford that if you don't work and for that very reason you will never stop puppy farmers because I was turned down by two rescue homes I went straight home trawled through the free-ads and went off and bought a German Shepard puppy for £100 who is absolutely beautiful saw another advert in the local paper for labxcollie and bought her a friend for £60. So I would be very interested to see a programme which looks at these rescue homes in a little more detail. As for the number of dogs which have to be destroyed then although sad it is probably the best thing that could happen to them it is not worth keeping a dog which has the potential to cause harm to a person or another dog when there are so many lovely soft breeds of dog looking for loving/caring homes.

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    I think that it should be made law that all puppies are microchipped before sale. Chipping could be a legal requirement by 6 weeks of age, as puppies shouldn't be sold to new homes before then anyway.

    Dogs can then be traced back to their owners or breeders. Non-compliance could be met by seizure of dogs, spaying, neutering and hefty fines to cover the costs. Owning a dog without a microchip could be a fine and legal order to comply - perhaps shopping the breeder/seller to get a reduced fine. If the police and rescue charities got a proportion of the fines etc, they would have the motivation to check up on breeders. Microchipping is not an expensive thing. Trained chippers can visit breeders' homes and do a whole litter in a matter of minutes at a cost of £10-15 per pup (or less).

    Anyone advertising puppies for sale would make themselves a target for inspection. Strays could be traced back to owners and action taken for abandonment if necessary.

    This type of requirement could well lead to more people spaying and neutering to avoid unwanted puppies.

  • Comment number 91.

    While it is commendable that the Pamorama team have gone ahead with the making of this programme, it is absolutely shocking that the BBC have allowed it to be aired with such a shallow and poor representation of such important issues.

    It is a subject that needs to be raised and dealt with but the inability of the presenter to highlight the real issue has resulted in a continued stereotype of the Staffie as an aggresive status dog.

    The presenter made reference throughout the programme to 'type' and 'breed' as if they are the same thing- they are NOT.
    It is as ridiculous as this.....ANY DOG could LOOK like a pitbull dog and be considered a ' pitbull TYPE' but to refer to an animal's BREED refers to a blood lineage and its DNA makeup. There is a massive difference between a staffy type and a staffy breed and the fact that so many of the dogs on the programme were cross breeds with other breeds not mentioned, meant that the programme unfairly refered to 'all of these staffys' and carelessly switched between reference to type and breed.

    We have a pure bred staffy who is far from aggressive and is infact (as the Kennel Club suggest) 'good with children.'

    I am not a dog person and this is the first dog I have owned - we also have a one year old baby and the dog is very gentle with her. We did so much research before getting a dog and spoke to countless owners, breeders etc and a pure bred staffy is , I would challenge, not the dog that programmes like this carelessly suggest. I could not have been more cautious about getting a dog and the time and energy spent in giving our family the best possible chance to successfully bring this pet into our lives was well spent- but I am on a daily basis shocked and stunned by the ignorance about this animal and THIS OF ALL programmes SHOULD have done more to get facts right.

    There is a larger problem related to irresponsible owners, not the fault of the dogs, and this does need to be addressed. Bring in microchiping, bring in annual registers - all responsible owners will not bat an eye lid about any of this as they do so much for their dogs anyway. It will still be the irresponsible owners, those who educate their dogs towards aggression, who will not microchip and who will remain hard to track down at that vital moment in time.

    Finally- The vet who had to put the dogs down was clearly distressed about what he had to do and should be commended for doing what he seems to consider the only option left.

  • Comment number 92.

    Unfortunately this is the way things have to be because of excessive breeding, irresponsible breeders and naive buyers who want the picture perfect dog who just slots into their lifestyle . Blame can not be put onto kennel workers purely because you can't offload your now, unwanted pet on them.
    I have 2 dogs and before buying them I was well aware that each would have their own little personality. One of them is a pleasure 100% of the time and the other is really quite trying.. I suppose just like a child! It's ok to admit that sometimes you really don't like your dog very much!! Whats not ok is buying a dog before thinking long and hard about committing to a possible 15+ years of a dog with attitude.
    Not one day goes by that, my lovely little Milo, doesn't do something that makes me die a little inside but at no point would I ever feel that he was someone else's problem and that I could use a kennel to wash my hands of him.
    You commit to that dog when you pay money for it/ take it from the breeder and you should be bound to it like you would a child.
    Places in kennels may well be running out fast but we could make good use of those lethal injections on those people that have exhausted their human rights.. then the dogs could have their places in the prisons.

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    I've been very concerned about the number of staffy-type dogs in rescue for a long period of time now and am disgusted at the constant irresponsible breeding and ownership of this breed that is leading to their deaths.
    I do not feel that Brandy should have been put down, my own dog acts towards some dogs in the same manner but is very friendly with the majority that he meets, and the behaviour displayed could be due to a number of factors. I hope that it was not the only test that was performed but due to the number of animals taken in by Battersea it would not surprise me if this one encounter was the decision maker.
    I have long thought dog licensing should be brought back, but I have no idea how it could be effectively policed, and hope that the government manage to think of something as some people just shouldn't be allowed to keep pets.
    I have never met an aggressive staffy. They have always been very friendly, placid dogs. I hope their negative image is soon forgotten.

  • Comment number 95.

    What a lot of people seem to forget is that we do not know where these dogs have come from an what their background is. The media and society would be outraged if we rehomed a dog without vetting it properly and it malled a child. And I mean any breed of dog not just staffies. We live in a society of suing an compensation. Many of the regulations we have in place in reguards to homing are there to protect the public from being bitten and the charities from being sued. We have to be so responsible, for the new owners sake and from the dogs. If we rehome the wrong dogs to the wrong owners we are responsible for possible injuries the dog could cause and for the dog having to be put to sleep for biting. It is a huge responsibility from the point of view of kennel staff. It is hard enough to live with the fact that it is sadly part of your job to put these animals to sleep, but I know myself I could not continue to do my job if a dog I rehomed seriously injured a child. As responsible as most owners are, accidents do an can happen. I reitterate the point that I am not talking just about staffis but any breed or cross that comes through our centre.

  • Comment number 96.

    Thankyou to Battersea D & C Home for clarifying that much more extensive assessments had been carried out on Brandy, it is reassuring to know that. Here's hoping that if things can be done to reduce the numbers of dogs being put into this situation, that it may become more realisitc and achievable to retrain and rehabilitate the dogs that need it.

    To all those frustrated at the re-homing process, I can imagine how upset and frustated you must feel and yes it probably is over-cautious at times but there are good reasons for it. The rescue homes are trying desperately to eliminate any risk of the pet being abandoned yet again because someone thought at the time they could juggle a pet around work or cope with a dog in a flat and later realise it was impractical.

    My parents rescued a couple of dogs when I was about 16, these dogs were lovely but rescue dogs often tend to be clingy and suffer seperation anxiety and so therefore it would torture the dog to be seprated from the owner when they go out to work. Ideally you need two dogs that get on with each other and will be company for each other while you are out at work - we work for a living and rescued a couple of cats for that very reason.

  • Comment number 97.

    No one likes to see animals destroyed and it is very sad, but this isn't the fault of Battersea or any of the other rescue centres across the country. Don't forget, if these centres weren't in operation many more dogs would be destroyed.

    The government need to get tough on the people breeding dogs. We need tighter controls and better tracking of the animals and their owners. Neutering/spaying(unless licensed) all dogs may be necessary.

    I'm not entering the debate on breeds as every dog has teeth therefore it can bite. Unfortunatley some breeds attract a minority of idiots who use the dog as a trophy or weapon. We need to give our enforcement agencies better powers to stop these people from having access to dogs.

    Lets hope the government don't make some ill thought out law which would hurt the decent responsible dog owners.

    Owning a dog is hard work, time consuming and costly. They need a lot of time and attention, which unfortunatley means for some, a dog is not for you!! Get a cat!!

  • Comment number 98.

    I watched tonights programme and I am utterly distressed, I cried through out the entire show. I have 2 staffys, which I have had since they were pups, they are the most loyal caring intelligent pets any one could ask for, it really grates on my last nerve that this breed is regarded as dangerous and vicious! In my experience they only turn out this way if they are taught to act like that, usually by petty criminals that want to look big infront of friends! It is no fault of the dogs when they attack humans or other dogs, if it's how they've been taught they aren't going to know any different! My digs mean the world to me, they are they loving playful and soppy! They are great with other dogs, and children, and I have no doubt about my unborn childs safety when it comes to being around them, as they are already aware of him and frequently rest their heads and paws on my expanding tummy when the baby is moving around, they are protective to the point where I feel safe but not to the extent where I fear they might attack if other dogs or people get too close. I think the way batersea test out dogs to see if they are friendly or not is outrageous, I do not think enough time or effort is put into it, dogs ar going to be wary of each other they aren't going to immidiatly establish a bond and become life long pals, it can take a few meetings before they sus eachother out! Brandy being sentanced to death for being a curious yet cautious and not straight away waggerly tailed is abserloutely disgraceful! If I had the room and a massive garden I would love to adopt all the staffys, but sadly that's unrealistic, but I really wish I could.

  • Comment number 99.

    I knew the dog problem was bad but not as bad as this, it was very upsetting to see healthy dogs put to sleep.
    I know this is a long shot but why can't something be done to stop people breeding more staffies, its obvious not many of them go to the right home. Also other breeds like rotties and akitas are becoming a similar problem, they are hard to rehome as they are not as trustworthy as some dogs and are seen as a 'tough' breed.
    I don't think bringing the dog licence back will cure this as only good dog owners would buy one and we would still have the problem. However the funds could maybe be used to help sort the problem.
    I really hope that the programme has urged someone on to try and do something about this. Its a terrible world we live in when healthy dogs are put to sleep simply because they are surplus to requirement, i wish i had the answer.

  • Comment number 100.

    i own a two year old staff i have had her from 12 weeks old you can not get a better dog with such a good temprement she is so gentle its untrue half the time it is the owners at fault anyone can buy a dog with no inspection or check ups i agree with the person earlier there should be something in place but what we used to have a dog licence but it couldnt be policed.it is a shame because these are a very loving breed if brought up wright


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