DOGS are being left homeless because they're considered too old … at ages as young as six.
Animal lovers in Hyndburn are now being urged not to be "ageist'' when choosing a pet.
RSPCA animal centres across the North West are struggling to re-home dozens of cats and dogs because potential owners think they are too old.
Visitors walk by the animal's kennels and cat pods without so much as a second glance, with older animals often taking months to strike lucky.
The Altham shelter has several six, seven and eight-year-old dogs struggling to find owners because of their age.
Eight-year-old crossbreed, Ben, has been a resident at the centre, which is currently home to about 70 dogs and 20 cats, since June.
Animal care assistant Daniel Dewhurst said he would make an ideal pet for an older family but would not really be suited to a family with children.
He added: "Ben is a quiet dog in the kennels but when he goes out he is quite playful."
Fellow resident Gypsy, a seven-year-old Jack Russell cross, has been at the centre since May. She had received little or no interest from visitors until last week when a new owner took a shine to her.
Gypsy's story has a happy ending and she will be going to her new home next week.
North West RSPCA spokesman Kevin Hegarty said it often takes several months to re-home older animals. He added: "We have little trouble finding homes for puppies and kittens but once the animals reach a certain age, even as young as six, it proves to be a significant struggle to find an owner willing to give them a home.
"That is such a shame because they are all animals that have plenty of love to give."
Anyone who thinks that they can offer a home to an RSPCA animal can contact the Altham centre, which is off Enfield Road, Altham, on 231118 or call in between 11am and 4pm, Monday to Wednesday or Friday to Sunday.