Less than a third of youngsters left school last summer having been immunised
Desperate Times for Devon Dog Rescuers
A Devon dog rescue charity says it's having to turn abandoned dogs away.
K9focus, which rehouse dogs from Devon and Cornwall, says this year things are going from bad to worse as the recession bites even harder.
It's now having to turn away around a dozen dogs a week because it has neither the space nor money to keep them.
Last year the Torrington-based charity was taking about one dog a week.
Lynne Hall tells Heart one of the big problems is that unscrupulous people are getting bitches for free from sites like GumTree, breeding from them, selling the puppies for about £50 each and then abandoning the bitches as soon as possible.
The charity is calling for new legislation to ensure all puppies are bought from licensed breeders.
Lynne says another problem is that more dogs are being abandoned because owners may have lost work and can no longer afford to keep them.
And to compound these problems, the wet summer meant that many of the charity's fund-raising events were abandoned or didn't raise as much cash as had been hoped.
Lynne says:"Like many charities we are suffering dreadfully at the moment from the drop in donations and sponsorship mainly due to the economic climate and also most of our fund raising events have had to be cancelled during the summer due to the weather.
"The number of enquiries to take dogs has increased to levels which are just staggering. I personally have taken in and rehomed dogs from other rescues that have had to close and in one instance the lady has lost her home having run up debts to feed her rescue dogs. Generally speaking there are no government or lottery grants that can be applied for and yet the local authorities expect small rescues like myself to take in dogs when their 7 days are up - how are we supposed to afford it! I could go on for ever but in essence I would like to raise people's awareness and appeal for help."
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