LURCHER LINK is a new organisation that has been started by veteran dog rescuers and Lurcher lovers Kaye Fitzgerald-Gorham and Kez Stainton as a direct result of the of the rough deal that Lurchers seem to get compared to other dogs.
From their work with Lurcher Search UK, the two friends have seen how many Lurchers are stolen each year and are all too aware of how few of those Lurchers find their way back to their rightful owners. In a recent article in The Times (October 22nd 2003), it was stated that between 8,000 and 12,000 Greyhounds were slaughtered or abandoned annually, of which only around 2,800 were rescued or taken in as strays by council run pounds. The estimated cost to the taxpayer is around £600,000 p.a.
The article then goes on to say that Lurchers cost the taxpayer a further £1.35 million! Some of these Lurchers will be ones that have been dumped as "surplus to requirements" but a lot of them will be stolen ones that have no permanent identification, thus making it almost impossible to reunite them with their owners. Extrapolating from the figures given in The Times, it would seem that at least 5,000 Lurchers a year find themselves homeless and because of this, Kay and Kez hope Lurcher Link will act as a point of contact for rescues, dog wardens, vets, stray centres and the public.
Kaye told OUR DOGS: "In various parts of the country people are looking for Lurchers to rehome without any success, yet in other places many Lurchers are destroyed each week because stray pounds are full and local rescues have no room to take them. Some of these dogs are probably stolen and taken out of their area. Their owners are still searching for them, but if they aren't microchipped or tattooed, they will be unsuccessful. Dog wardens and rescues know how frustrating this is, and we will always advise owners to get their dog permanently identified. In the meantime, we will try to stop these unclaimed dogs from being destroyed wherever possible.
"Lurcher Links aim is to act as a kind of Dating Agency for Lurchers, trying to find the right dog for the right family, from ANY rescue, to make space for other Lurchers to come into rescue and to save these dogs from being put to sleep. We have set up a list of helpliners who can offer their services in transporting dogs, doing home checks, emergency fostering etc. We also have the backing of the Dogs Trust (formerly the NCDL) and can offer a microchipping service, as well as being able to neuter and vaccinate any Lurchers that we take in and rehome through Lurcher Link. We will also act as advisors to people who are newcomers to Lurchers, have behavioural problems with their dogs or just need someone to discuss problems with."
Following the publication of Kayes recent article in the Countrymans Weekly newspaper, several people wishing to make donations towards our cause have contacted her. Some of these are members of the public who have a soft spot for Lurchers, some are bigger organisations.
Kez Stainton continues: "At the CLA Game Fair at Harewood House, Leeds, several working Lurcher organisations promised to support us and we hope we will be able to provide a crucial link between the working Lurcher folk and rescues, as that does seem to be sadly lacking we all need to work together in order to save as many dogs lives as possible. We all have a common enemy the unscrupulous dog thieves who think nothing of stealing our dogs and discarding them like rubbish when they have finished with them. These are the people we should unite our energies against!"
Other people have been very supportive towards Lurcher Link too - Mick Cawston, the famous artist, has promised the group an original picture, which they will be able to use in order to raise funds in the future; several dog clubs have offered to donate money from classes at dog shows; and currently a sponsored slim is in progress, the proceeds from which have also been promised to Lurcher Links coffers.
Kez continues: "We are thrilled with amount of positive feedback we have received since we announced the formation of Lurcher Link and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone concerned."
* If any readers wish to take advantage of Lurcher Links service or if you can offer a helping hand, contact Kaye and Kez at Kayes email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01422 240168.