Please don't forget us

THEY are the forgotten dogs of the kennels.

Naomi Cassidy

THEY are the forgotten dogs of the kennels.

More than 20 Staffordshire bull terriers and cross breeds at the RSPCA's animal centre in Martlesham are today patiently waiting for a new home.

But sadly for the cute pooches, their bad reputation is putting potential owners off.

Staff at the centre in Mill Lane said their kennels are dominated by the breed - even though they can make good pets.

Out of 30 dogs at the centre, 21 are Staffordshire bull terriers or Staffordshire bull terriers cross breeds.

Most Read

According to Kieron Adams, centre manager, the breed has become unpopular.

She said: “This time of year is always horrendous. We have quite a large waiting list and it gets really bad just before Christmas because people are going away, having relatives to stay, or just don't want to walk dogs in the cold weather.

“Staffies used to be seen as a status symbol but that has worn off now.

“It means that the centre is full of them but they are not going to new homes because people don't want that breed anymore. There is a stigma attached to them.

“They can make really good family pets but if they are not socialised well as puppies, they can be naughty as they are naturally fighting dogs.

“None of the dogs we have here are suitable for homes with children under five. The breed has got bad press but they can be affectionate and playful.”

Bosses also revealed that since the beginning of January the main kennel block at the centre has been closed for general public viewing for a trial period. This is mainly due to the stress levels of the dogs and noise levels.

As many of the dogs that come to the centre are nervous or worried, staff members have found that it can be hard to settle them after an influx of visitors, which then can lead to behaviour problems.

People who are interested in finding out more about the dogs should call the centre on 01473 623280.

- Do you own a Staffy? Has it made a good pet? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

Fastfacts: Staffies:-

- Staffies can be unpredictable with other dogs but with the right training they can happily live with them.

- The breed is known to be at risk from melanoma, often seen in the stomach area, as Staffies love to sunbathe on their backs.

- The breed attained UK Kennel Club recognition on May 25, 1935.

- The dogs were originally bred for bull baiting

- Their life expectancy is 12 to 14 years