Bull Breed Welfare
In 2012 at Freshfields Animal Rescue in Liverpool we began our Bull Breed Welfare Initiative providing support with neutering and microchipping whilst promoting ‘responsible ownership’ to dog owners across Merseyside.
This work began with a series of park events in the borough of Sefton, where we offered free microchipping and subsidised neutering. The events which also included a Fun Dog Show along with stalls, face painting and refreshments gave the dog loving citizens of Liverpool the opportunity to celebrate their bull breeds and to show them off to us and to one another.
So… what is a bull breed dog?
The term ‘bull breed’ was originally used in reference to all dog breeds that are either ‘bulldog like‘ or that were developed from the middle ages onwards for the purpose of the popular sport known as ‘bull baiting’. In the simplest of terms almost all dog breeds that fall into the classifications of bulldogs or mastiffs are bull breeds.
Our pledge to help unwanted bull breed dogs!
As an animal welfare organisation Freshfields is constantly faced with the ‘problem’ of bull breed dogs! By ‘problem’ we mean the number of bull breeds (Staffordshire Bull Terriers in particular) that are either brought to our door, added to our waiting lists or worse dumped in the vicinity of the Liverpool rescue centre almost on a daily basis!
We receive numerous calls from members of the public and sometimes the authorities requesting help with bull breeds found straying and currently, more than half of the dogs on our very long ‘waiting to be admitted’ list are Staffordshire Bull Terriers or SBT crosses.
Because these dogs are not personally known to us and because they are bred in such a way that despite their mostly gentle and loving natures, they often are not friendly towards or tolerant of their own kind, when admitting bull breeds (of any size) we have no choice but to kennel them alone. For a rescue centre this means placing one dog in a space that could otherwise house two or even three… effectively trading three lives to save just one!
Add to this the simple fact that most Staffordshire Bull Terriers (sensitive, people dependant individuals that they are) do not do well in a kennel environment, it becomes obvious that filling our kennels with bull breeds dogs is about as effective a solution to the ‘problem’ as placing a sticking plaster on a gunshot wound!
The ‘problem’ of bull breed dogs stems from overpopulation. The sheer volume of these animals compared with the number of homes available.
In the UK one Staffy or Staffy cross is put to sleep every 20 minutes.
40% of Staffy’s or Staffy crosses are destroyed before their 4th birthday.
So what is the answer? And how do we go about providing it?
The answer as we see it is not euthanasia, it is not to turn your dog out onto the street once it’s presence becomes an irritation or the cost of caring for and keeping it becomes too much. Through our park events and leafleting campaigns our aim is to systematically chip away until the habits of old are forgotten and taking responsibility becomes second nature.
We view neutering as the only way to humanely reduce the population and put an end to the terrible outcomes suffered by so many of these poor, unwanted dogs.