‘Pandemic puppies’ could lead to more abandoned pets, warns Sheffield Animal Charity
New research from insurance company petGuard has found that the lockdown “puppy boom” is causing a crisis in animal shelters across the country following high demand for kittens and puppies during the pandemic.
He said the Pets4Homes animal shelter saw seven million pet owners looking for a four-legged friend during the height of the puppy boom in May 2020.
According to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, about 3.2 million homes have welcomed a new pet since the start of the pandemic, leading to a 23% increase in the number of pet owners in the year. last.
Meanwhile, the Animal Welfare Charity Dogs Trust has reported a 50% increase in the number of pet owners calling for their dogs to be turned over between May and July 2020.
This means that the long-term effects of the pandemic could see as many as 25,000 dogs abandoned over the next five years, according to the Battersea Covid Research Project.
And the prospect has raised concern among animal rescuers, with the RSPCA urging the public to always consider their financial consequences and whether their circumstances should change before owning a pet.
Dr Samantha Gaines, Head of the Companion Animal Department at the RSPCA, said: “Many pets will have found their perfect homes forever over the past few months – and that’s something to really celebrate.
“Unfortunately, however, abandoned animals are something that frontline RSPCA officers have always dealt with in significant numbers – and we fear the combination of an increase in the number of pet owners during the pandemic, the change in people’s situation as some normalcy continues to return, and the economic impacts of the pandemic could all be a “perfect storm” for more dropouts.
“With the restrictions related to coronaviruses still to varying degrees and the full economic impact of the pandemic yet to be realized, it is still very early to draw conclusions on the future impacts on animal welfare, and in particular on animal welfare. abandonment of pets.
“However, we remain on high alert for a potential increase in abandonment and continue to urge anyone struggling with the realities of pet ownership to seek help. Research is so important before adding a dog, or any other pet, to the family. Owning a pet can be very rewarding, but it’s also a huge long-term commitment.
“The RSPCA would urge anyone to consider the financial consequences – including if their circumstances were to change – and to remember that the Covid restrictions will not last forever; It is therefore important to be sure that you can meet your pet’s needs when full normalcy returns, hopefully soon.
“There is a lot to think about – and there is a wealth of information on the RSPCA website for prospective pet owners.
“If a new pet is right for you and the animal, a rescue companion is an amazing and rewarding choice; and we invite anyone interested to browse our Find a Pet database on our website.
“If families still prefer to buy a puppy, we encourage them to use The Puppy Contract. This is a free online tool that will help you find responsible breeders and a happy, healthy dog.