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Kennels hit by dog attack fears

People are being put off taking in unwanted dogs because of recent reports of attacks on people and animals, according to the manager of a Shropshire dogs' home overrun with strays.

Hillbrae Dogs Home, in Telford, is currently housing more than 100 dogs and even had seven handed in on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

Manager Marty Burrell said lots of families usually adopt animals in the period after Christmas, but this year the take-up has failed to start.

Mrs Burrell puts the lack of interest down to recent reports of violent dog attacks.

Five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson was mauled to death by a pitbull terrier-type dog and her grandmother, Jackie Simpson, 46, left with severe injuries in an attack at Mrs Simpson's home in St Helen's, Merseyside, on New Year's Day.

And on the same day father Martin Noel needed emergency medical treatment after he and his 13-year-old son tried to stop their elderly dog being mauled by a Staffordshire bull terrier in Malinslee, Telford.

Mrs Burrell said: "Normally this time of year is one of the best for us. People decide to take on a dog once all the hassle of Christmas is out the way.

"But it has been a lot quieter this time. The reports are putting people off even perfectly good dogs."

She explained that Staffordshire terrier cross breeds can be violent and have caused problems at the kennel, although their behaviour is often caused by bad owners.

But she added: "Almost all dogs are absolutely great. And when people come here they can spend time with them and see how they get on before deciding to take them on in case there is a problem."

Unlike other pet rescue centres Hillbrae gave away pets to loving families over the festive seasons, but staff are still struggling to cope with pooches in need of homes.

There are currently no puppies ready to be homed but most types of older dogs are available.

Anyone interested in adopting is asked to telephone the centre on (01952) 541254.


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