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Pet dogs abandoned as recession bites

  • Story Highlights
  • Dog re-homing centers in UK at bursting point as owners dump their pets
  • Economic crisis means many owners can't afford expense of caring for dogs
  • Many dogs given as Christmas presents end up with animal charities
  • Charity donations to animal welfare groups also likely to suffer because of crisis
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By Emmy Dexel for CNN
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Meet Syria. The Border Collie is just 13 weeks old and was dumped by its owners. In the adjoining kennel eight boxer cross puppies have been similarly abandoned.

UK dog centers are at bursting point as growing numbers of animals need re-homing.

Syria the border collie: One of the animals awaiting new owners at a dog re-homing center.

Bruno is also waiting for a new home as the owner of the bullmastiff cross moved into a flat which does not allow pets.

These are just a few of the animals currently being cared for at a re-homing center in London run by the Dogs Trust, the largest dog charity in the UK.

"Our center is now full. We have more dogs coming into the center than going out. At this time last year, we had half as many dogs," says manager Richard Moore.

Other dog shelters and re-homing centers across the country are also at bursting point as a result of an increase in requests for re-homing and a decrease in people wanting to take on the responsibility of looking after a dog.

With insurance, food, grooming and toys, a dog's life can come with a price tag of £15,000 ($22,500), according to the Dogs Trust. And with millions of households tightening their belts as the credit crunch bites, some are opting give up their pets.

The increase in requests for re-homing is attributed to the financial crisis. Owners either have to move to dog-unfriendly accommodation or can no longer afford to care for the animal after losing their job.

"Moving as a result of the credit crunch is the number one factor for giving up a dog," explains Moore. "People also ring up to say they can't afford to look after their dog anymore, because they've been made redundant."

On top of overcrowding, animal rescue charities face another problem; they rely on charity donations and are likely to suffer in those terms.

"The expected increase in unemployment and decrease of disposable income is going to affect the donations," says Moore.

Another concern for dog charities is that animals are given as Christmas presents. Unfortunately some of these dogs turn up at the re-homing center in the New Year as unwanted gifts.

But dark times may be a good time to start looking after a dog, says Moore: "With the love and the care, the relationship that a dog can bring to you at a depressing time like this, is incredible. I have six dogs and certainly when coming home at night they put a smile on my face."

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