ANIMAL shelters are gearing up for their busiest time of year.

With the festive season over, shelters are waiting for the end of January when they have a surge of pets dumped on their doorstep.

Tom Millson, manager at Acres Way, in Thundersley, said: “It is the busiest time from then until February. That seems to be when everyone has had enough of their dogs.

“Who knows why. Sometimes it is down to the expense, other times people have taken on a dog that hasn’t got the right temperament and they have children.

“Other times you find, like one this week, the owners have moved house to a rented flat and dogs aren’t allowed. Another time the owner has passed on and their family can’t look after them. They pretty much get left on our doorstep or a member of the public will find them.”

Acres Way can fit up to 90 dogs at any one time, although they call in help from other kennels before it becomes full.

At the moment they have around 70 dogs, but it is expected to rise in the coming weeks.

Some of the animals need immediate care.

Mr Millson said: “The majority of those brought it are relatively healthy, although some are thin and underfed or just generally dirty.

“We don’t get lots of really sick ones, only a few. It’s not nice to see, but at least we can help in most cases.”

Unfortunately, not every dog which is brought into the kennels has a happy ending.

Mr Millson said: “There are a small amount that get put to sleep because of their breed or their health or because of their temperament.

“The other week everything we had through the door had a bit of bull terrier in it. Staffies are very popular, but they require a lot of work and are very intelligent so need lots of stimulation, which not everyone can provide.”

Despite the dreaded influx coming closer, Mr Millson said he is not worried about how they will cope.

He said: “If we really do get worried about looking after all the dogs brought in then there are other shelters we can call on for help, to make room for others.

“Unfortunately, this isn’t going to change any time soon.

“If anything it is only going to get worse with the growth in population.”