Dogs attack hundreds of animals in Burnley, Pendle, and the Ribble Valley
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Animal rescue Pendle Dogs fears the total figure is only “the tip of the iceberg”, claiming many bites go unreported. The sanctuary’s manager believes many dogs become aggressive after poor starts in life, having been abandoned numerous times and insufficiently trained and socialised around other animals.
Paula Knowles said: "I think that is the tip of the iceberg. The main issue is that people pass dogs around or send them back [to rescues] at the first sign of a problem. It is just sad. You do get reactive behaviour with these dogs. We give them a few weeks to settle in [to their new homes] and offer people training, but they send the dogs back.”
One example is Dolly, a two-year-old Staff crossed with a Jack Russell, who has returned to the sanctuary after marking a child’s face.
"Dolly didn’t get walked for a long time. She came to us at two-years-old and hadn’t been on a walk."
The volunteers are desperately looking for a new foster home to work alongside them to help improve her behaviour.
Three-year-old Eric has also faced trauma. The Greyhound/Bull Cross was a stray found alone without a microchip.
A former working dog, he is somewhat driven to chase other animals, but the charity calls him “a true gentleman”. Despite his easy-going nature, he has had no interest from prospective adopters.
Likewise, two-year-old Ned was a stray, discovered alone and emaciated, leaving him with a high food drive. The volunteers describe him as a “lovely boy who is fine with other dogs but can be protective around his food.”
Commenting on the lack of applications to adopt Eric or Ned, Paula said: “Both dogs are so well-behaved. We should not be struggling to rehome them. They are good dogs. Once upon a time, people would have been queuing up for them, but we have had no applications come in.”
Animals are being abandoned in droves as people struggle to manage their behaviour, but few are going out to – or remaining in - forever homes. People ring the charity "non-stop" asking for help, while dogs sit in the kennels waiting to be adopted. Other rescues are also overwhelmed, adds Paula.
"Our pet food bank has never been busier. We have rehomed 1,800 dogs over the past 10 years. It’s a lot. We’re on 74 this year already.
"But I think that could be it – adoptions have ground to a halt.”
A Burnley Council spokesperson said the authority extended its existing dog control orders by three years last December to help protect people and animals in public spaces. These exclude dogs from, or force owners to keep them on a lead, in council-owned land like Thompson and Queen’s Parks.
For more information, visit https://burnley.gov.uk/parks-green-spaces/dog-control-orders/