BENVARDIN Animal Rescue Kennels (BARK) on the outskirts of Coleraine is receiving on average ten calls a day from dog owners wishing to hand over their pets.
Shaun McIntyre, a volunteer at the Centre told The Times yesterday (Monday) that it is the worst he has ever seen in his time as a volunteer at the centre.
“We had 13 phone calls, two texts, two emails and two messages through facebook last Wednesday from people wanting to leave their dogs,” told Shaun.
“We have over 50 dogs, including 30 puppies at present and to be honest this is a massive strain on our resources.”
Shaun told The Times that he understands Council pounds in both Coleraine and Ballymoney are also full with unclaimed dogs.
“We’ve had dogs in from the pounds after they have served their seven days with the Councils.
“Many of these dogs are micro chipped, but when the owners are contacted they don’t come to collect their dogs, so we are left with them.
“The penalties for allowing your dog to stray have increased, and to be honest I think people are just thinking of the money.
“If your dog is found straying with no collar, no licence and no name tag that will result in a fine of £240 so people aren’t bothering going to claim their dogs. If these dogs are lucky they will end up with us,” said Shaun.
Over the past month, the team at Benvardin have taken in over 30 puppies and their mothers after owners haven’t been able to cope with the work involved.
Shaun added: “If we don’t take them in, the alternative doesn’t even bare thinking about.”
The running costs for Benvardin are in the region of £4,000 each month.
As the Centre receives no funding there is a huge strain on resources as they struggle to cope with the huge numbers of dogs coming through their gates.
If you would like to donate to Benvardin or re-home a dog contact them via facebook, you can view all of their dogs, or visit the centre Tuesday to Sunday between 2pm and 4pm.
The Centre’s next fundrariser will take place on Saturday, August 4. The event will mark Benvardin’s second anniversary. Events kick off at 1pm, and there’s something for everyone.
We’ll bring you more details next week.