THE phrase a 'dog is for life, not just for Christmas' is banded about every year.

And this year it is even more pertinent as there are fears there could be a wave of abandoned pets as people who were bored during lockdown begin to realise the commitment needed to look after dogs.

But it is not a new problem.

In 1993, an abandoned pup who was dumped in Barrow Park was put down after being handed to council.

Satty, a tiny abandoned puppy which escaped death in Barrow park was destroyed because he was thought to be a pit bull terrier - a banned breed.

The month-old pup was handed in at Barrow Police Station when a passer-by spotted him in a carrier bag near the park bridge.

It was thought he was destined to be drowned in the lake before the owner chickened out.

Nicknamed Satty because he was found on a Saturday, the pup was handed to the environmental health department by Police.

Also noted was an increase in people abandoning dogs in the streets. The North West accounted for 17,000 of these animals.

The number which had to be put down rose by ten per cent in 1992.

Barrow Council had to destroy about 100 dogs.

Chief Environmental officer David Hodson said: “Last year we had to destroy 132 dogs.

“Of the dogs we impounded at the North Sea kennels, 142 were reclaimed by their owners and we were able to place 196 with Animal Refuge, a local charity.

“We keep these at the kennels and AR pays for them until they are found new homes. Nevertheless, they cannot be kept forever and some are never found new homes and are put down.”

Under the borough by-laws any dog wandering the streets is a stray and is liable to be impounded.

Mr Hudson said: “Any dog not on a lead in a 30 or 40 mph speed limit area is technically a stray. The vast majority of these dogs would tell you, if they could, that they did not become strays by chance. Most would have been abandoned, lost or ejected from the place they thought it was home.”