Dustin the Lurcher has not had a good start in life and this week he earned himself the unfortunate title of Wood Green Animal Shelter’s “most unwanted dog”.

Monday (June 1) marked 12 months since the two-year-old, who was rescued from a dog pound where he was due to be put down, was placed in the care of the animal charity at Godmanchester.

Last week was National Unwanted Pet Week in which the charity appealed to the public to come forward and offer good homes to its long-term cats and dogs, but most animals are re-homed after a few weeks or months.

"Dustin is unusual in that he has been with us for a long time now, but he certainly hasn't been confined to a kennel for that length of stay," said Wood Green director, Sally Stevens.

"In fact, it's a common misconception that 'long-termers' might be less well socialised, where in reality, we as a charity pride ourselves on ensuring our animals are getting a lot of real family life experience by going home at night with our staff.

"In Dustin's case, he was fostered by a staff member around six months ago and has been enjoying a really sociable existence as part of a normal home, in between returning to kennels."

Dustin is one of 250,000 animals who need re-homing at any one time in the UK.

"Our research shows that people in Britain still identify us as a nation of animal lovers, so it's depressing to see the stark reality behind the number of dogs, cats and smaller animals which are awaiting a loving home at any one time," added Ms Stevens.

"What I would urge anyone interested in pet ownership to do, is to please do your research first. You wouldn't purchase something like a smart phone without taking advice or seeking recommendation, so it seems incredible to me - and to the thousands of us who work in the animal charity sector - that potential pet owners would rely on blind faith alone and then be left surprised by the way their new animal fits into the home and lifestyle."

INFORMATION: For more, visit www.nupw.org. If you think you can give Dustin a home, call 0844 248 8181.