Two tonne Tara

THEY have nicknamed her "two tonne Tara", the dog that is so incredibly fat she can barely walk without getting out of breath.Daily we are bombarded with headlines about obesity, overweight children, and Britain becoming a nation of junk-food eaters heading for heart-attacks – and now it seems the country needs to worry about its pets, too.

THEY have nicknamed her "two tonne Tara", the dog that is so incredibly fat she can barely walk without getting out of breath.

Daily we are bombarded with headlines about obesity, overweight children, and Britain becoming a nation of junk-food eaters heading for heart-attacks - and now it seems the country needs to worry about its pets, too.

Rottweiler Tara, being looked after at Felixstowe's Blue Cross animal welfare and adoption centre, has been labelled by vets as "clinically obese".

At a hefty 11-stone, she is four stone heavier than her ideal weight - the result of too many treats and too many sausage rolls - as if she was carrying ten chihuahuas on her back.


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But she is still not the heaviest dog in the world - that honour goes to an English mastiff called Hercules which weighs in at an amazing 20 stone.

It took two men to lift Tara into the van to bring her to the Walton High Street centre, and after she walked the few yards from the vehicle to her kennel she was completely out of breath.

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Now she on a strict diet and exercise programme to help her shed the pounds while Blue Cross staff search for a new home for her.

"It's unhealthy for any dog to get this huge," said centre manager Tom Crowley.

"Poor Tara has difficulty just breathing and walking when a dog her age should have plenty of energy to run around.

"She now faces several months of a planned dieting and exercise programme, but we are confident that she will eventually gain her natural weight and have a happy and healthy future."

Tara was living in the Ipswich area, but her owner died. It was clear that while she had been well fed, she had not been getting the exercise a large dog needed.

"It is such a shame because she has a heart of gold, such a lovely nature. When you go into her kennel she wants to jump up to greet you, but, of course, she cannot get her feet off the ground," he said.

"With her diet, we will cut down the amount she eats but we have to make sure she still gets all the nutrition she needs. There will be no treats for sure.

"At the same time we will try to find her a new family, but it will have to be a person willing to take her on and keep on with the diet and exercise regime."

At least 20 per cent of the pets the Blue Cross now treats at its animal hospitals country are now overweight - double the figure of a decade ago.

High fat, high sugar diets of baked beans, burgers, hot dogs, curries and pizzas as well as huge portions of pet food are being blamed for the increase in pets' weight with the unhealthy diet causing many pets to become seriously ill.

Vet Caroline Reay said: "As British people get bigger our pets are getting fatter. And the problem isn't just confined to cats and dogs, we see overweight budgies and rabbits as well.

"Most overweight pets will have a health problem which has been caused by or exacerbated by their weight. It's very sad because many of these pets no longer have a decent quality of life as they have great difficulty doing the simplest of things such as walking or breathing."

N Do you think pets are getting too pampered? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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