Cardiff Dogs Home has seen a big increase in the number of animals arriving through its doors since Christmas.
Our photographers Matthew Horwood and Polly Thomas spent a day at the Penarth Road home last week, meeting the staff and the new arrivals they’ve been looking after.
The rescue centre doesn’t allow adoption over the Christmas period to prevent dogs from being given as presents, but animals are still taken in – and after 33 arrived in the 20 days after Christmas, it is struggling to manage 45 dogs in 44 kennels.
Manager Maria Bailie said: “We have had to put to sleep a couple of dogs because of space issues.
“It’s a very hard situation, very heartbreaking. You don’t want to do it and we don’t put dogs down very often.
“But you have to see how a dog is managing and if you start to worry about behaviour or the health of a dog, or if won’t be re-homed, then it’s not fair.”
Some animals have been at the shelter since long before Christmas.
“We’ve had two American bulldogs since October and neither have had anyone apply to re-home them,” said Maria.
“I’m worried about every day they spend in the kennels.
“It’s not a life for them, their quality of life is poor.”
She added: “We are under pressure because if the council pound gets too full they have to put dogs to sleep.
“The council don’t want to do it but it’s a problem because at the moment it’s very busy. It’s a continual juggling act.”
Since the recession, the number of dogs being abandoned has gone up and although there are owners who have to give up their pets for legitimate reasons, Vanessa said others are simply irresponsible.
She added: “We do get genuine people, where working hours are changing or people lose their jobs or homes.
“We also get dogs with medical conditions where the owners haven’t bought insurance and can’t treat them.
“What annoys us is a young couple who get a dog and then have a baby and don’t want the dog anymore.
“If you’re a young couple you must have thought you might have a child. It’s irresponsible.
“It’s consumerism, people want the latest accessory and they just treat a dog as a commodity.
“It’s the same mentality as buying a child a computer game and throwing it out when they’re bored.”
Cardiff council’s Ashley Govier said: “Although all our dogs are extremely well cared for while they are at the home this is not a long term solution and what they really need is someone who will love them and can give them a bit more security and stability.”