Unwanted dogs dumped on Harrow's streets are putting a massive strain on council stray collection services.
Harrow Council's stray dog service could become unable to handle the growing number of abandoned puppies let loose after being given as unwanted Christmas presents, officials have warned.
The high numbers of homeless pooches has already led to a crush on kennel space and the council has warned that if the number of dogs currently being dumped continues, it will need to consider looking for emergency kennel space further afield.
Dog wardens are picking up on average two dogs a week compared with a similar period last year when the service was picking up on average two a month.
Dogs picked up during the day are taken straight to Battersea Dogs Home. Those picked up overnight or on weekends are either taken to Battersea direct or are held in holding kennels either overnight or until space becomes available at Battersea.
Harrow Council says that the problem is compounded by the fact that Battersea Dogs Home itself has been at full capacity over recent months - a pressure that in turn causes a logjam in the temporary holding kennels used by the council's out of hours contractor SDK.
Housing stray dogs also has a cost implication for council tax payers as the authority is paying up to £25 per night for additional kenneling on top of the normal out of hours rate.
Portfolio holder for environment services Councillor Susan Hall said: "The old slogan that a dog is for life, not just Christmas, doesn't seem to have been heard across London.
"I have real concerns that if the number of strays persists at this high level, it will strain our service to breaking point.
"It may be that the credit crunch is also a factor in the number of strays, but I would again appeal for people to please think twice before condemning animals to what is currently a life in kennel limbo. Also, if there are people in Harrow able to offer a good home to a dog, that would be hugely appreciated."