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English bulldogs' surge in popularity offset by high abandonment rate

The English bulldog has conquered New Yorkers’ hearts, with more wrinkly canines waddling the city streets than any other breed in 2013. But the breed’s burst in popularity has a downside – nearly 350 were surrendered to city shelters last year.

On Tuesday night, bulldog lovers and celebrity pet owners, including Ice-T and his wife Coco, came together at the Long Island Bulldog Rescue’s 15th-annual Bash for the bulldogs in New York City to raise awareness about abandoned English bulldogs, an issue first reported by the New York Post this week.

The star-studded event hosted by Beth Stern, animal advocate and wife of radio personality Howard Stern, raised funds for the New York charity to rescue and care for the dogs while they await adoption.

“We need to raise money for these unbelievably expensive dogs, that are just being bred indiscriminately for profit, which you can’t do with any breed, and this breed in particular,” said Laurette Richin, executive director and founder of Long Island Bulldog Rescue (LIBR).

A testament to the bulldog’s rise, the breed has seen a 323% jump in registrations across the US since 2003, according to the American Kennel Club.

“We credit their loveable personalities – the bulldog makes a great and loyal family pet and are also fantastic with kids,” said Hillary Prim, an AKC spokeswoman.

Facing growing demand for the chubby canines, pet retailers turn overseas or to puppy mills that often breed the animals in substandard conditions, which can exacerbate health problems or result in new ones.

“These dogs don’t have a lot of puppies,” Richin said. “They’re not a money-maker if you do it right, that’s the problem. The demand far exceeds the supply. And today people are just anxious to get what they want when they want it.”

Richin said novice pet owners are soon finding they can’t afford to care for the bulldogs. Though the dogs don’t need much exercise and are good with children, they suffer from a range of health problems and can be difficult to train. Last year, her charity rescued 347 English bulldogs, up from 19 in 1999 when she founded the non-profit.

“We’re seeing wonderful people who just didn’t know, and they wind up, in some cases, having to mortgage their homes to take care of these health problems,” Richin said.

Two of the breeds biggest fans, rapper-turned-actor Ice-T and former model Coco Austin are regular attendees of the fundraiser. The couple have two English bulldogs, Spartacus, who featured prominently in the couple’s reality show, Ice Loves Coco, and the dog’s son, Maximus.

“These two go everywhere with Ice and I. We’ll take them to the [SVU] set, if we have to do a video shoot,” Coco told Us Weekly during a visit to the magazine’s New York City headquarters. “Believe it or not, people will ask us to bring the dogs to club appearances, sit ‘em in the booth and pop bottles!”

Article courtesy of: MSN news-


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