In this week’s ManxSPCA column, manager Juana Warburton discusses the dark side of England’s success at Euro 2024 and introduces Chaz, the football mad bulldog

Who would think that the England men’s football team’s games, and their success or otherwise at the European Championships (Euro 2024), could have an impact on domestic abuse – but, sadly, that is the case.

Research shows that there is a correlation between football and domestic abuse: one recent study found that the number of domestic abuse reports rose by 26% when the English national team won or drew, and increased by 38% when they lost. The main cause is alcohol consumption, coupled with heightened emotions, with earlier kick-off times encouraging more drinking and therefore more abuse.

What, you may be asking, has this got to do with animals … well, domestic abuse is related to animal abuse and it’s important to understand correlations and apply safeguards where possible.

The problem is not a new one: Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher, said 2500 years ago ‘For as long as men massacre animals they will kill each other’; and the18th century artist and animal campaigner, William Hogarth, demonstrated this link in his engravings. The Metropolitan Police have just been awarded the ‘Hogarth Award’ in recognition of their work – officers are now taught how pets can be part of coercive control and how victims can be supported.

Animal abuse occurs in approximately half of all households affected by domestic abuse where pets are present within families. Victims will often delay fleeing an abusive situation due to concerns about the safety of their companion animal. One study reported that 35% of women delayed seeking refuge for this reason.

The Naturewatch Foundation has been campaigning for several years to highlight the link between animal and domestic abuse, aiming to demonstrate that when animals are safe from cruelty, it helps people too.

Friends, family and neighbours should be aware of the signs of domestic abuse and know how to direct victims to professional services.

The Isle of Man Constabulary has a comprehensive website page dedicated to the subject – (although it would be good to see it updated with links to animal abuse).

The page includes information on what controlling behaviours look like, and where to go for help. It also reminds victims that if they call ‘999’ and are unable to speak, they should hide their phone and wait because the police service will respond to a ‘dropped’ emergency call.

Back to football, and on a happier note, we have a very British bulldog called Chaz in our rescue kennels at the moment.

He’s been cheering on the English players as they’ve ‘doggedly’ progressed through the Euros, and given he loves snoozing on sofas he makes the perfect armchair critic.

Chaz, who is six years old, was born with a cleft palate which gives him a very distinctive expression. It doesn’t affect his breathing or his drinking and eating, and there are risks associated with mending clefts, and so he will not be having any surgical correction.

He’s in really good health but, as is usual with the bulldog breed, he has some skin irritation which is easily medicated.

Chaz can be a bit exuberant and boisterous in pursuit cuddles, and so he would be best suited to a family with older children.

He’s so people orientated we think he’d prefer to be the only pet in his new home so that he can be the centre of attention.

Contact the kennels team if you would like to meet him on [email protected].