Manchester

Ramsbottom sanctuary condemns handbag dogs 'stupidity'

The celebrity-led craze of carrying pet dogs in handbags has been branded "cruel stupidity" by the manager of an animal sanctuary.

Neil Martin of Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, near Ramsbottom, said the number of 'trophy dogs' being brought in had quadrupled over five years.

The latest victim, a Chihuahua called Camilla has lost half her hair and bites everyone except her owner.

Mr Martin said that dogs treated like toys suffered physically and mentally.

Status symbol

"I can't say categorically that Camilla was carried about all the time in a handbag, but she was certainly not treated like a proper dog, which is the problem with all these animals who are treated like toys by their owners," said Mr Martin.

"People see celebrities behaving like this and it is just cruel stupidity.

"In Camilla's case she has a severe allergy-related condition that has caused her to become semi-bald and she has been conditioned to bite anybody except her owner.

"Dogs need to be treated like dogs. They are not things to show off and to make their owners look adored," said Mr Martin.

"People need to show some common sense and understand that a dog is not a fashion accessory or status symbol."

Camilla is being trained by sanctuary staff to try and teach her to stop biting people and investigations are under way into the cause of her condition.

The sanctuary, on the Greater Manchester/Lancashire border, was set up in 1954 takes in more than 1,000 dogs a year, about 20 of which are so called trophy dogs.

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