Dog owners in Hounslow have been urged to get their mutts microchipped after it emerged nearly 160 strays were found on the streets of the borough last year.

The number of dogs taken in by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home after being found abandoned in the borough rose was up by more than a tenth from the 2007 figure of 144.

Staff at the centre rescued a total of 5,357 strays during 2008, up by more than 1,100 from the previous year.

The number of strays found in Hounslow was exactly the same as in neighbouring Ealing but nearly twice that in Richmond (79) and half Hillingdon's total (321).

Battersea's director of operations Scott Craddock called on pet owners to take all possible measures to keep tabs on their animals.

"Responsible ownership for us means microchipping your pet and ensuring it has an up-to-date tag so that it can be easily traced back to you," he said.

"We're calling on all pet owners in Hounslow to take more responsibility for their pets - get them chipped, find out who to contact in Hounslow should their dog go missing, and keep Battersea's Lost Dogs & Cats Line number handy."

He blamed the sharp rise in strays on the recession and a change in legislation, which means abandoned dogs are no longer held at local police stations.

For more information about getting your pets chipped, visit: