Dog sent back to rescue centre… because it 'didn't match the sofa'

Callous owner sent dog back to rescue centre… because it ‘didn’t match the sofa’, reveals former boss of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

  • Former Battersea Dogs & Cats Home boss Claire Horton on Desert Island Discs 
  • Revealed about ten per cent of rescued pets are returned within six months
  • One callous owner brought back her dog because it did not match her sofa 

A dog was once returned to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home because its new owner decided it ‘didn’t match’ the sofa.

The callous treatment is revealed today by the former boss of the famous rescue centre, who says the unnamed individual was banned from any future adoptions.

Claire Horton, who recently stepped down as the centre’s chief executive, tells Desert Island Discs that about ten per cent of rescue pets are returned within six months. 

Claire Horto, former chief executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, says about ten per cent of animals are returned

She tells host Lauren Laverne: ‘Usually it will be a very genuine change in circumstances. So it could be an illness, someone might die.

‘Then we’ll get people who will bring them back because they hadn’t thought it was going to wee on the carpet or chew the bottom of the door. 

‘We even had a dog come back once because it didn’t match the sofa.’ 

As Laverne recoils in horror, Ms Horton, 58, adds: ‘I know, I know, what can you say? We took the animal back because we never judge. We rehomed it to somebody who really cared.’

Claire Horton, former chief executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home (pictured) said one owner returned their dog as it did not match the sofa

Ms Horton, who has three Battersea dogs of her own and a cat, says: ‘That’s the point about the whole Battersea premise around “Rescue is our favourite breed”. 

‘It’s not about what breed it is, or what colour it is. It’s just about being a rescue.’

She welcomes news that lockdown has seen a surge in rehoming, but warns against buying imported pets in poor condition from the internet or from unscrupulous puppy farmers.

Ms Horton, now director-general of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, is also asked the age- old question about whether she is a ‘dog or a cat person’.

‘The answer should be I love them both equally,’ she says. ‘But dogs for me every time.’

Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 today at 11am and will be repeated on Friday at 9am.

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