A MILITARY mascot has backed an animal charity’s battle to overturn the negative image of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Watchman V and his handler Colour Sergeant Greg Hedges, both from the 3rd Battalion (Staffords) West Mercian Regiment, are urging people thinking about taking in a rescue dog to look past their preconceptions and consider a Staffy.
Their pleas come as the RSPCA launches a new website, www.gettoknowadog.co.uk, where people can find out more about Staffies currently looking for new homes.
Watchman V is the latest in a long line of Staffordshire bull terriers to line up alongside the county’s troops. Colour Sergeant Hedges said his four-legged colleague was a perfect example of what fantastic companions Staffies can make with responsible owners and the right upbringing.
“Watchman V is the first Staffy I’ve had in my care and he’s an absolutely marvellous dog. I’ve had other breeds in the past, but after having a Staffy I’d never look back. It is a wonderful breed and Watchman V is a great dog.
“The current perception of Staffordshire bull terriers in the wider world is not a great one, but you would find it hard to get anyone who has actually had a Staffy to say a bad word about them.
“Like any dog, you need to give them your full attention, but they are fun loving animals, can be great with people, loyal and can make absolutely marvellous family pets.” The RSPCA rehomed more than 500 Staffies and Staffy crosses last year, many after being neglected, abused or abandoned, but even more arrived at centres. Many RSPCA animal centres have reported that around 80 per cent of the dogs currently in their care are Staffies or Staffy crosses.
RSPCA inspector Tony Woodley said: “Like any dog, Staffies require a lot of love, patience, understanding and commitment, but to rehome one is a hugely rewarding experience.
“The Staffordshire bull terrier’s reputation has taken a few knocks in recent years from people sadly associating them with irresponsible owners. The truth, however, is that the dog hasn’t changed, but the way we treat them has.
“There are hundreds of Staffies who haven’t had the best start to their lives at our centres across the country looking for special owners to give them the chance they deserve. Our aim is to match the right dog with the right owner, regardless of breed, but would encourage anyone thinking of adopting a rescue dog to consider a Staffy."