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Cruel animal owners reminded jail or £20k fine awaits them

Rex is one of Lord Whisky's many abandoned dogs looking for a new home
Rex is one of Lord Whisky's many abandoned dogs looking for a new home

Abandon your pet and face a fine of up to £20,000 or jail – this is the message to irresponsible dog owners who dump their animals on the street.

As recent RSPCA figures reveal that cases of abandoned animals are on the up, one Kent council is taking steps to remind the public of the cost of breaking animal welfare laws.

This week, the RSPCA announced a 3.8 per cent increase in the number of animals it rescued because they were dumped by their owners last year, with a total of 1,602 picked up.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, people who abandoned or abuse animals can be sent to prison or be fined up to £20,000.

In Canterbury, the number of stray dogs on the streets is rising so rapidly there are fears the local sanctuaries may soon reach bursting point.

Each year around 60 strays taken to the Lord Whisky Animal Sanctuary , Stelling Minnis, to be rehomed.

Sanctuary owner Margaret Todd said: “The problem has got so bad that all the sanctuaries are full. And as we have a policy of not putting any animal to sleep we will start having to turn them away.”

She added: “People with holidays coming up don’t want to pay boarding fees, others have been affected by the credit crunch, relationships have broken up or people take on an animal and then decide they can’t cope.

“People have got to start being more responsible.”

As a result, the city council has launched an awareness campaign promoting responsible dog ownership and reminding them of animal welfare laws, with leaflets and flyers distributed in libraries, community centres and vets’ surgeries.

Spokesman Rob Davies said: “We want to remind people it’s the law to make sure a dog has the owner’s name and telephone number on its collar, to encourage people to microchip their dog and ensure dogs are kept in a safe and secure location to stop them escaping while owners are out.”

To find out more about adopting a dog from the Lord Whisky Animal Sanctuary, call 01303 862622.

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