Are the accusations made against you on facebook true?
No they are not they are without foundation, we will answer any questions here to clarify matters raised on facebook providing they are well mannered, do not include bad language or derogatory.
How were you established?
From 1880 to 2013 the RSPCA always helped stray dogs but central policy stopped them so they could focus more on cruelty cases. This left the Local Authorities with nowhere for the dogs to go. They advertised locally and nationally but no one was prepared to operate a pound.
We was asked to run a pilot in 2013 to see what we could do, so we implemented as new way of working. Dog Wardens wherever possible, be it microchip or previously held information take dogs back home from the vans, the Local Authorities charge owners £65 for this service.
If they can't get the dog home, it is taken to private boarding kennels, this could be anywhere that has space and capability to hold the dog. The reclaim fee of £65 remains the same for forty eight hours, after that it is £100. If an owner pays for the dog it is returned by the dog warden to the home address.
Are you a pound?
No we are not a pound. If dogs are not claimed after seven days then they are offered to us, we have sixty kennels and take dogs in accordance with our admittance policy. Essentially: the faster we can find new dogs homes then the more dogs we can save.
Do you have a no kill policy?
Yes, we do not euthanaise healthy dogs. Last year we rehomed nearly six hundred dogs, twenty four of them had ailments that could not be cured or where returned to us for biting after they had been re homed, four had spent over a hundred and fifty days with us and the quality of life was such that we had to make difficult decisions. These dogs were unfortunately euthanized.
Like all rescues we have issues with dogs that are with us for more than one hundred days, these dogs are usually undesirable, that is why they have not been adopted. We will keep a dog as long as we can until its adopted but some dogs to begin to detorate at this point and at two hundred days, a few will begin to suffer from kennel life. Our longest stayer before finding a home was three hundred and two days.
Do you send dogs to Liverpool universities Institute of Veterinary Care?
Yes, but not alive. Last year twenty of our dogs that were euthanatised for ailment or aggression were sent for the purpose of teaching and training.
Do all unclaimed strays come to you?
No, there is a gap between the number of dogs the Local Authorities have and the number of dogs we can cope with, dogs are also offered to other rescues.
Do you temperament test the dogs you allow into the home?
Yes, on Merseyside we have had five human deaths and countless injuries by dogs in the past decade. The Local Authorities have set out a behaviour test that dogs must pass before they are offered to rescues or rehomed.
Although technically this test can be conducted on day seven, on average it occurs on day sixteen once the dogs have settled. No temperament test is conducted until the dog is emotionally stable.
Do the Local Authorities publish figures on dogs?
Not publically but figures are given to the Dogs Trust each year as part of the national survey.
Does this mean that healthy dogs get euthanaised on Merseyside?
No healthy dog on Merseyside is destroyed but the argument is on the definition of healthy, taking into account physical and mental wellbeing. However, this definition is with the Local Authorities and not part of our remit, we are not involved with these dogs or this aspect of the service.
Could more dogs be saved on Merseyside with more resources, time, money, kennels?
Probably, we can only be responsible for the dogs that we take in to our care, our ability is to have five dogs at a time with behavioural issues. In addition to the welfare of the dogs, employers have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment for staff, it’s a balancing act.
If another rescue was to set up specialising in dogs with behavioral issues, we suspect that people would be queuing to hand dogs over rather than abandoning them.
Can anyone open a rescue to help?
Yes, anyone can open a rescue to help but the difficulty is getting insurance. Insurance companies do not like high risks, the more difficult the dogs are that you work with the higher your premium and chances of not getting insurance is.
Are your dogs insured?
Yes, the public want dogs to be insured when they adopt them, this includes third pat liability if the dogs attack another dog or bite someone. But again, insurance companies shy away from high risks so dogs have to be relatively safe.
Do you neuter all dog’s?
No, we don’t have the resources, if we neutered every dog then we would only be able to help fewer dogs, we focus on priorities, females and high value dogs, neutering these.
Who is your Vet?
We use a number of vets for differing things, our main vet is Tony Buxton MRVC who spends around eight hours a week looking after our dogs.
Do you do home checks?
Again, we prioritise and manage our resources so we can help the greatest number of dogs. All people are checked for authenticity; landlord’s letters are required. We only home check for high value dogs and where we have concerns.
Is it fair on the dog to do temperament test?
Unfortunately, there is no other way of doing it. They are not tested exactly on day seven, they are held until they are emotionally stable, some dogs we intake after spending seven days in boarding kennels other longer, on average a dog has spent sixteen days in care before it is assessed.
Who owns Merseyside Dogs Home?
Merseyside Dogs Home is a charity and not owned by any one. It is managed by our founder who invested over £100,000 to establish the centre, he does not draw a salary.
What is your relationship with Animal Wardens?
We have a good relationship with in house and contracted Animal Wardens, our founder has been a director of Animal Wardens Ltd since 1984.
What is your relationship with other rescue kennels?
We have a good relationship with other rescue kennels and regularly exchange dogs with them, in September 2014 we lost five of our dogs to the Manchester fire. We take dogs in and exchange dogs from Wales and the North East.
We have a small kennels in East Sussex that is part of our charity but no relationship with any other rescue.
Do you have many pups?
Rarely, we tend to get occasional one off pups that are abandoned. Sometimes a bitch in whelp arrives with us, this year we have only had one litter. We tend to give mothers to other rescues that can cope better than us.
How many dogs do you receive that you believe the owners are looking for and can’t find?
Not many, all the dogs we accept into the centre have already been advertised as found. On occasion, we advertise a dog and a previous owner contacts us, this occurred four times last year.
Why are people not prosecuted for abandoning dogs?
It is disheartening when a dog is microchipped and we call the owner to be informed that they don’t want the dog anymore. Legislation to prosecute is lacking.
Why is there an oversupply of adult dogs?
People prefer to buy pups than to adopt adults. People's desire for pups is currently driving a large trade in illegal imports from Eastern Europe.
This problem of an oversupply of adult dogs is not the responsibility of rescues or Local Authorities. Central Government needs to do more with legislation on indiscriminate breeding and national records.
What is the overall picture on Merseyside?
Since 2014 the three main performance indicators used by the Local Authorities on Merseyside have improved, more dogs going home, fewer dogs euthanised, more dogs finding new homes.