Charity Reports Surge in Strays Following Fireworks

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home saw its intake of stray dogs spike by 50% over fireworks weekend, after pets became frightened by loud bangs and lost their owners.
 
The new arrivals joined all Battersea dogs in enjoying a calming and distracting dog bone over the weekend, after a successful campaign by the charity generated 821 donated chews – well above the target of 550.


 
Fireworks season is one of the busiest times of the year for Battersea, and this November almost all of the Home’s kennels have been full. This weekend staff worked hard to take in 18 stray dogs who were found by members of the public and brought to the Home. This is up 50% on a normal weekend, which typically sees 12 stray dogs brought in by the public.
 
In addition, many other strays are being held by Local Authority dog wardens across London and are on a waiting list to come into the Home.
 
In 2009 the two weeks around fireworks night saw 219 stray dogs arrive at Battersea’s three sites. This was up 18% compared to a typical fortnight last year, which brought in 185 strays.
 
Liz McWalter, Head of Intake & Assessing, expects to receive a similar number of stray dogs over the two week period this year.
 
She explained: “It’s concerning to see an increase in the number of stray dogs around fireworks night, and this November was no exception. Many of the dogs were clearly terrified by the flashes and bangs of the fireworks, and probably ran away to hide, only to lose their owner. We will now try to reunite them, and if we can’t do that, we will start looking for a new home for them. I would urge anyone who has lost their dog or cat to contact us.”
 
One factor that greatly helped all Battersea canine residents this fireworks season was the hundreds of bones donated by the charity’s generous supporters. Battersea appealed for help to calm and distract the dogs when local fireworks displays were planned, as the noise and flashing lights can be very stressful for dogs, who have much more sensitive hearing than humans.
 
Battersea was thrilled to receive a total of 821 bones, 756 from supporters who bought them for £1.50 through the Home’s website. A further 65 bones were brought into the Home’s three centres. In total the donated bones are worth £1,231.50.
 
Head of Animal Welfare Philip Mansbridge explained: “We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who donated a bone, and we are incredibly grateful for their help. The dogs really enjoyed the bones and they definitely had a calming effect on the animals during the fireworks displays.”
 
The Home took other measures to help residents, including drawing blinds, closing windows, giving out long-lasting treats and playing music in the kennels during the fireworks.
 
This weekend saw fireworks displays taking place near all three of Battersea’s sites in Battersea, Old Windsor and Brands Hatch.

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