The number of stray dogs recovered by the dog warden have almost doubled in Croydon over the past three years.

A disturbing trend has emerged among people who buy “status” dogs but are ill-equipped or unable to look after them properly.

In 2005-2006, 86 dogs were found wandering the streets by the council dog warden compared to 2007-2008 when 141 were rescued.

A RSPCA spokesperson said: “It is a problem of irresponsible dog owners who do not provide the right environment for dogs to live in.

“Pets need to be in a garden that is properly fenced and the pet itself needs to be microchipped so if it does go missing it is not picked up by the dog warden and simply taken to local authority kennels to either be re-homed or in extreme cases put to sleep.

“This is a major concern for us as numbers seem to be on the rise which can lead to road traffic accidents and injuries to the animals.

“There is a big problem with status dogs such as Staffordshire bullterriers.

“Young kids seem to be buying this breed of dog as a sort of status symbol but are not prepared to look after them.

“They just take them out whenever they go out.

“Fifty per cent of the dogs in one of our London homes are staffies, and when people see this they think that there is something wrong with them.

“However if looked after properly and well-trained staffies can be some of the most loving and rewarding dogs to have.”

The Croydon dog warden has so far been unavailable for comment.