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You are here >>> News and Views >>> Views >>> Border Collie Rescue Press release 9/7/99
Border Collie Rescue - On Line - Farmers Dumping Dogs ?

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Press Release - Dated 9th June 1999 - Postscript appended 30th January 2002

Left on here to warn that too many animal rescue organisations rely on emotive bullshit to get attention because the work they do is not that good.

Border Collie Rescue is alarmed by reports in the press concerning the number of unwanted Border Collies being put down or abandoned by British farmers.

One report seems to imply that up to 10,000 dogs have been slaughtered or abandoned by farmers over the last year

This figure coincides with the results of a survey of UK rescue centres, conducted and released by Border Collie Rescue for the year 1996 and relates to dogs referred to rescue centres over that year.

The majority of dogs referred to in these figures were from pet home, not farms.

Border Collie Rescue is currently conducting a new survey of 200 rescue centres to update these statistics.

It is true that there is an increase in unwanted working dogs being re-homed from farms currently meeting financial difficulties as a result of cutbacks and market pressures.
There is no doubt that many farmers and shepherds are suffering serious problems at this time and are trying to work their businesses with falling incomes and support.

However it must be said that, in our experience, the vast majority of farmers are taking a responsible approach to the matter of unwanted dogs and are dealing with the problem in a humane manner.

In the majority of cases a farmer or shepherds working dog or dogs form part of their extended family group and when the necessity arises to part with a dog most would prefer to pass the dog on directly to another farm or shepherd, known to the original owner and trusted by them to be able to continue to give the dog the life it needs.
Traditionally, many farmers are suspicious of animal rescue charities as most would seek to place all unwanted Border Collies into pet homes and pay little regard to the dog's inbred and instinctive need to be active, mentally stimulated and working.

Some Border Collies, born with little or no instinct ( the exception rather than the rule) may be content to settle into a domestic pet environment but the average Border Collie needs much more.

It must also be said that many Border Collies develop behavioural problems in unsuitable pet homes and in rescue kennel environments leading to some centres being reluctant to take in this breed and others obliged to dedicate a great deal of time and resources on rehabilitation programmes.
Rather than berate and condemn farmers, as a group, for reprehensible conduct towards their dogs, rescue organisations should be seeking ways to reassure them that their unwanted dogs will be given the opportunity to continue the work that they are born to do - if the need exists in the dog.

If this attitude could be adopted as a general overall policy towards the special needs of the breed, farmers and shepherds would have more confidence in using rescue centres to pass on unwanted dogs rather than relying on alleged alternatives.

However the problem is deeper and more widespread than it appears on the surface and is not restricted to the farming community.
The Border Collie has become an icon over the last 10 years representing loyalty, hard work, dedication and skill.

This is indeed the true nature of the breed and we have farmers, shepherds and the International Sheep Dog Society to thank for the selective and responsible breeding they have employed to make the breed into what it is.

That which we so much admire today

The real tragedy of the situation of unwanted Border Collies that we are seeing today lies in public demand and commercial market forces that are prompting people to breed more of these dogs than there are suitable homes for.

As demand for Border Collies as pets has been promoted and increased, irresponsible breeding for profit has risen to fill this demand.

The problems of commercial breeding establishments (puppy farms) has been highlighted by the NCDL and RSPCA in campaigns to raise public awareness and introduce legislation to control this industry.

A profusion of smaller private 'hobby' breeders are also adding puppies to the market.

Unfortunately, much of this breeding takes no account of the quality of the bloodlines used to produce puppies.

Many of these pups carry hereditary or congenital disease because the cost of screening the sire and dam against such problems cuts down on potential profit.

Many pups also have social and behavioural problems because they are taken away from their mother before they have had time to fully absorb an understanding of 'pack socialisation' and because they have little contact with humans during the crucial time of their life where trust is 'impressed' on them by regular, gentle handling.

Those pups that survive to maturity with these undesirable health and social conditions will, if bred from, pass on these traits to their own offspring, thus selectively breeding dogs with inherited problems and compounding the problem.

The fact is that there are simply too many of this breed being produced than there are suitable homes for them.

To us, one of the alarming consequences of the decline of British stock farming is the loss of potential suitable homes for a breed of dog that is most suited to this environment.

Our fear is that the only homes available for this breed may be the pet market and the majority of these dogs would be very unhappy in pet homes.

This is borne out by the fact that the vast majority of Border Collies we are asked to take on are unhappy pets that are developing problems in the home to such an extent that the owner is obliged to part with the dog.

The problems of over breeding and lack of awareness of the real needs of this breed needs to be addressed if the situation is to improve.

We look forward to a day where that the phone stops ringing every few minutes with desperate people (mainly pet owners) on the other end asking us to advise them on problems they are having with their dog or seeking to re-home them.

A phrase most commonly heard is 'If I had known what I was taking on, I would not have got a Border Collie'.

We appeal to ALL Border Collie owners - Please - please - please neuter or spay your dog.

Don't breed from your dogs - there are enough of them around already.

Every one who breeds a Border Collie puppy these days must face up to the fact that they are not needed and for every one they produce they are condemning another to death elsewhere.

The decline of the British farming industry is one matter but the responsibility for the predicament of the Border Collie lies with ALL of us.

This press release is dated 9th June 1999.

Postscript - Jan 2002

It turns out that the stories about thousands of Border Collies being dumped by British farmers is a complete fabrication and has no basis on reality.

Farmers are not decapitating their puppies or shooting their unwanted dogs and throwing the bodies in ditches or even simply dumping them on rescue centres.

They did not do this in 1999 and they are not doing this now.

Shame on the spreaders of such cruel rumours.

This cartoon says it all !

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This cartoon copyright to Londons Times Cartoons  by Rick London and reproduced here with kind permission.



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