VETERINARY workers joined forces to help neuter XL bully dogs that were facing euthanasia in January.

Under a law brought in by the government following a spate of attacks and deaths caused by the dogs, owners must neuter their dogs, microchip them and muzzle them in public.

Thirty three veterinary surgeons , nurses, students, receptionists and animal care assistants gave up their time to spay or castrate 35 dogs during the last two Sundays.

The neuter days were the brain child of David Chana, the director of Bold Veterinary Clinic in St Helens, along with Kat Gibbs, a registered veterinary nurse who also works at Bold, and former Petplan Nurse of the Year Claire Shepherd who runs the charity Neutering animals in Merseyside (NAIM).

The dogs came from Warrington, St Helens Widnes and Liverpool.

David is concerned that the high numbers of XL bullies in the region will make the government targets unachievable.

He said: “I understand that the government had to do something, there were so many attacks and so many deaths but it’s just a rushed and poorly thought out bit of legislation."

Since the sessions, the practice has had calls from as far as Surrey and Scotland from owners who can't get their dogs neutered before the deadline, worried they will be put to sleep.

The team on Sunday

The team on Sunday

Kat Gibbs, who is also a qualified behaviourist was also disappointed in the change.

She said: “We have already learned that Breed specific legislation doesn't work, but while we have it, we need to make sure we help the responsible owners and their pets. We are giving these dogs a lifeline.

“More needs to be done to regulate trainers and behaviourist so that dogs can be taught appropriate methods to behave (in a kind and ethical way) and owners need to learn to communicate with their dogs better.”

David also highlighted the issues in the local area as being a particular problem:

“In London and some rural areas there are much fewer of these dogs, but in our area there are many more and responsible owners have got a relatively short period of time to comply with the new rules.” He said. “It puts a huge amount of pressure on owners and on vets.”

Bold neuters animals for NAIM every day but since the new rules were announced by the government they’ve solely concentrated on XL bullies.

David added: “No vet wants to spend January euthanising healthy dogs. And healthy means both emotionally and physically.

“It was so nice to see the number of people who gave up their time for free at the neutering days. These are people who work in independent practices, corporates, charities. There’s no rivalry, everyone just wants what’s best for the dogs. “

Claire Shepherd, from Naim, hasn’t ruled out more neuter days in the future. She said: "We at NAIM are incredibly grateful to Bold for all their support, we are proud of what the collaboration has achieved so far. Long may it continue."