NUMBERS of dumped dogs are reaching crisis point in the Forest and canine rescuers are in despair.
It comes as a petition has been launched, attracting more than 700 signatures already, to refuse planning permission for a puppy breeding centre in Blakeney.
The centre, at Hagloe Farm, has been based in the village for 10 years, but has been told it has been operating without the required building consent.
Almost 90 breeding dogs, including bichon frise, King Charles spaniels, chihuahuas, French bull dogs, miniature schnauzers and pomeranians are housed there – producing 40 litters of an average four puppies each, every year.
The business is fully licensed and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing there. However, dog rehomers in the district fear it is symptomatic of the problems they face.
Helen Szuluk, of Forest of Dean Dog Rescue, said: “I’ve got 60 dogs on my books at the moment, dogs that we need to find new homes for.
“Establishments like this one are just too big – they’ve got nearly 90 breeding dogs there and that’s huge.
“People buy these puppies, breed from them until they have served their purpose then they are done with them and they wind up with us.
“We are seeing more and more ex-breeding dogs in this situation – there’s no way of saying where they have come from, but we really are struggling with the rescue and rehoming side of things.
“It’s not just the Forest of Dean, it’s everywhere, all over the country you will find this problem and more and more often it’s pedigree dogs, not cross-breeds.”
The petition calls the centre a puppy farm and urges the district council to refuse retrospective planning permission.
It was started by Kathy Clements from Llandysul and can be seen at www.change.org.uk.
Hagloe Farm’s breeding enterprise supports three full-time workers but it transpired recently that the conversion of a barn and small timber building in 2003 needs consent from Forest of Dean District Council.
Margaret Davies, who runs the farm with her husband, said she was aware of opposition to the business but added: “All our puppies are well looked after. We’ve been here 10 years without any problems. The council has advised us to apply for planning permission.”
A spokesman for the council said Mr and Mrs Davies have always been co-operative with Environmental Health inspectors and added that officers from the planning team visited recently to advise the owners that planning consent is needed.