Foster care appeal for Battersea’s stigmatised Staffies


Battersea Dogs and Cats Home today launched an appeal for short-term foster carers as it prepares for a surge of unwanted dogs.


By Ros Satar

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is appealing for short-term foster carers, as it prepares for the traditional surge of unwanted dogs in March.

The Home believes that the increase is fuelled by those no longer wanting to care for pets received as Christmas presents.

While the dedicated team, including many volunteers, work very hard to care for the dogs on site, some get very distressed by life in kennels.

Volunteer Manager Carly Whyborn explains: “That’s where our foster carers step in and help change the dog’s life by giving it one-to-one love and attention in a home environment.

“It can make them happier and more relaxed, which makes it easier for us to find them a new home.”

In 2011, Staffordshire Bull Terriers (Staffies) made up 37 per cent of the Home’s intake, and the average stay until they are re-homed is 63 days.

This gives the Home important information on how the dog will behave in a normal home environment.

Many know that the Home prides itself on being the only charity that will not turn away any type of dog, but maybe fewer people are aware of its continual lobbying and appeals.

Last November, the Home launched an appeal specifically to change the misconception of Staffies.

Operations Manager Claire Porteous said: “Any dog, regardless of breed, can be trained to perform undesirable behaviours.”

The situation is made worse partly due to over-breeding by irresponsible owners.

She described how dogs are being treated often as commodities, and how they are even offered up as swaps on websites for items such as iPods.

“Dogs come to us when the novelty wears off,” she said.

 “In some cases you’re looking at a 15 year commitment,” she added. “People do not look at the longevity of owning a dog.”

Ruth Brauer and her partner Paul Hitchen from Putney fostered Jessie, a one-year-old Staffie, in January.

She explained: “We both love dogs but can’t own one as we are going travelling next year, so fostering suits us perfectly.”

Anyone interested in fostering a Battersea dog, or in the Staffie appeal can visit

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