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‘Gutted’ volunteers at Central German Shepherd Rescue in Holbeach call for help with major issues affecting the whole of Lincolnshire





An animal charity is calling for a crackdown on backyard dog breeding after volunteers said rescue centres across Lincolnshire are in a major crisis.

After being forced to temporarily close it’s doors for intakes a year ago, Central German Shepherd Rescue in Holbeach, is pleading for an answer to the ‘dreadful’ issues.

The rescue first opened in 2014 after volunteers from a national charity discovered there was a huge call for help in Lincolnshire and the surrounding counties.

Gemma
Gemma

Bev Rowe, of Holbeach, has been volunteering since it first opened, but has been involved in German Shepherd rescue since 2007.

She said: “It is all a nightmare at the moment and it’s happening all across Lincolnshire and the UK.

“We carried on running our rescue centre as best as we could during the pandemic, but when the cost of living crisis came into play, that’s when things were getting unbearable.

“People just couldn’t afford to keep their pets and they were giving them up – we were getting up to 15 phone calls and emails a day and it’s a major issue.”

Bea, George, Misti and Jax at a Christmas fundraising event with volunteers Mick, Emily and Steve
Bea, George, Misti and Jax at a Christmas fundraising event with volunteers Mick, Emily and Steve

The small registered charity is based in Lincolnshire but also has foster homes and emergency boarding kennels in Nottingham, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.

Central German Shepherd Rescue currently has 20 volunteers who all give up their own time to help out.

Bev added: “All of the issues started during the pandemic when people were breeding dogs for money and buying them because they were bored in lockdown – it’s been dreadful.

“The cost of living crisis on top of that has hit everyone hard, which we understand completely, but the issue we have now is that so many of these dogs which were bred during the pandemic, have genetic and health issues, as well as mental health problems.

Bean with volunteers Neil and Karyn
Bean with volunteers Neil and Karyn

“I’m just gutted because none of it is the fault of the animals. It’s all down to the owners and the breeders who are doing it for money and not the welfare of the dog. I think it is going to be an ongoing issue until backyard breeding is cracked down on.

“The police and local authorities are not there to support the laws and legislations that are out there – which results in the animals suffering.”

Bev explained that many pedigree dogs currently in council pounds and animal shelters are being put to sleep on a regular basis because of the lack of space, funding, facilities and volunteers.

Central German Shepherd Rescue has ‘forever foster homes’ for dogs who can’t be re-homed due to medical or behavioural issues. They also have ‘rehab homes’ where some animals have previously lived at for nearly three years due to the severity of their situation.

Frankie
Frankie
Nala
Nala

Bev said: “Just because we haven’t found the right home for them dosen’t mean they have to go. Since I started volunteering, things have got better in respect of people being more aware of animal rescue but on the flip side, they have got a whole lot worse with the amount of dogs needing our help.

“We are a disposable society and dogs just don’t fit in anymore because people always want to off load their issues and give it to someone else to deal with.

“A lot of people just give up their dogs too easily but there are other options out there for them – when you take that animal on it’s a commitment.

George and Bea with volunteer Tracey Merryweather
George and Bea with volunteer Tracey Merryweather
Jax and Misti
Jax and Misti

“We understand that some circumstances can’t be helped but giving up a dog because you are moving home or going on holiday is not acceptable.

“After the pandemic we also found that many of these dogs have not been socialised and are absolutely petrified of other dogs, people and vehicles. When they come into our care they are fully assessed and we get them out into the local community to see what they can cope with. We also introduce them to new environments such as the vets and see what training they already have gained from the previous owners.”

Following a ban made by the government earlier this year which has made it illegal to own an XL Bully dog, Bev explained how this ban has also affected the charity. She said: “The ban has created some issues for tenants who have large breed dogs as the landlords are now stating they cannot have them, in case they are aggressive.

Rosie taking a trip to pet shop, Rookes
Rosie taking a trip to pet shop, Rookes
Lora on a day trip
Lora on a day trip

“It has also created an issue in the respect that people who may have wanted to take on a German Shepherd, are now taking on XL Bullies to prevent them from being put to sleep.

“I think in order for us to get on top of it all there needs to be less dogs imported from abroad whilst our facilities are full – at the minute there are more dogs than homes.

“If there are less breeders and less importing, we might have a chance to help the dogs who have been in rescue for years.

Buddy at the Central German Shepherd dog show with volunteer, Rachel Farrow
Buddy at the Central German Shepherd dog show with volunteer, Rachel Farrow

“We need to educate the public and promote our rescue charities who are out there and happy to advice – you don’t always have to resort to giving your dog up.”

For more information on how to donate or volunteer for the charity, visit the Central German Shepherd Rescue website.



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