Tackling Falkirk’s dog issue head-on

Anne Russell and Marion Stewart with Bandeath Shelter residents Elsie and Josh
Anne Russell and Marion Stewart with Bandeath Shelter residents Elsie and Josh

All dogs leaving Bandeath Dog Shelter now have their neutering expenses paid for thanks to the efforts of a Larbert-based charity.

Save a Staffie Scotland pays for dogs leaving the shelter - which is home to dogs abandoned in the Falkirk, Stirling and Alloa council areas - to be neutered and vet bills while they are in the care of the pound.

The charity, which was founded last year, fundraises throughout the year to make sure pooches leaving the pound don’t go on to add to the unwanted dog population problem.

Founder Anne Russell, from Larbert, said: “The council shelter was one of the only organisations not offering a free neutering service, so we were keen to help.

“There are hundreds of unwanted dogs in pounds and rescues all over the country so it makes sense to make sure dogs leaving them can’t go on to have pups and add to the dog population.”

Save a Staffie Scotland has treated 36 dogs - of all breeds - with 10 more to have the operation shortly. They have been able to do this thanks to fundraising with Pets at Home and donations from generous dog lovers.

In addition to the medical care, the group also does house checks to ensure the dogs at Bandeath go to loving homes and actively looks for owners for the unwanted hounds.

The charity is now in the process of finding land for its own rescue centre which would take difficult dogs and train them to be better pets.

Marion Stewart (54), from Bo’ness, has been working with Save a Staffie Scotland since it started.

She said: “Life for a dog in a shelter isn’t ideal. The dogs are used to being in a home and then find themselves in a kennel for most of the day, with not a great deal of human interaction.

“The staff at Bandeath are great and there are lots of volunteer dog walkers but it’s not the same as having a home and owners. Often the dogs lose weight while in the shelter and start biting themselves or show stressful behaviour.”

Staffie Josh and cross beed Elsie are just two of the dogs currently at Bandeath. Despite campaigns on social networking sites, no homes have been found for the duo.

If you could offer Josh and Elsie or any other dog at Bandeath a home call the shelter on 01786 812908. Also, visit Save a Staffie’s Facebook page for more information.