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All change for pet names 2006

THE RSPCA has revealed that a recent survey shows favoured pet names of the past have started to slide down the popularity table including the almost ever present, Ben.

Results of an RSPCA pet survey show that the name Molly is now the most popular moniker for both dogs and cats. The name has come from nowhere after not featuring in Top Ten lists from five years ago, while the top dog name of 2001 - Ben - has been completely forgotten!

Other pet facts from the RSPCA online survey on pet ownership show that: The majority (64%) of people taking part were aware that the law regarding pets is changing;Most pet owners (56%) got a pet to keep them company, while one-in-three wanted to rescue an animal

· Just over half (54%) have had their pet microchipped, though the figure is lower for over-65s (47%)

· Cats and dogs are the most popular pets, accounting for 49%

· The majority of cats (55%) are acquired 'free of charge' - e.g. being rehomed - while 78% of dog owners paid for their pet

RSPCA acting Chief Veterinary Officer David McDowell said: ‘This is a real shocker for the name Ben. I believe it's always been a solid name for a dog, standing for loyalty and friendship. It even survived the Michael Jackson song about a rat. But now it's gone.’

He added: ‘This gives us an interesting insight into how and why people buy their pets. It's also encouraging to know that a majority both have had their pet microchipped, and know about the new pet laws, although these are people logging onto the RSPCA website so perhaps we're getting the message across to them!’

Top Dogs Names 2006: 1. Molly; 2. Jack; 3. Holly; 4. Max; 5. Buster; 6. Lucy; 7. Jake; 8. Barney; 9. Charlie; 10. Sam. Just outside - Toby