Animal charities facing ‘perfect storm’ as Covid bites

petDog rehoming charities, including the likes of Dogs Trust and Battersea, are being hit by the double whammy of dwindling donations and a sharp increase in animals being abandoned, following the realisation of what owning a pet actually entails.

So says a study of more than 500 UK dog rehoming centres which has exposed a number of alarming trends as the true impact of the pandemic on dog ownership becomes clear.

And, with more and more dogs suffering from lockdown-related behavioural problems, one in every four rescue facilities now faces having to turn dogs away, due to a lack of space.

The research, conducted on behalf of Direct Line Pet Insurance, shows that over a quarter (27%) of rescue centres are running out of space, with those in Wales and the South West the worst affected.

Over a third (36%) say the pandemic has had a “worse than expected” impact on them, with more than half (55%) saying they are now in a worse position than they were during the peak of Covid-19 in 2020.

More than three quarters (77%) of UK rescue centres say they have seen an increase in ‘pandemic pups’ being handed in for rehoming and the same proportion say dogs are becoming harder to rehome due to lockdown related behavioural issues.

As well as this, over three quarters (77%) say they are bracing themselves for things to get worse this year as more people are expected to give up their pets.

Direct Line Pet Insurance veterinary nurse Madeline Pike said: “The pandemic has been exceptionally tough for all of us, and for a lot of our pets too. What we’re unfortunately seeing now is a ‘perfect storm’ of factors, including a reduction in donations and volunteers, an increase in people giving up their pets and a very noticeable spike in behavioural issues making dogs more likely to be given up and harder to rehomed.

“Lockdown was a unique situation which caused many people to feel it was the right time to get a dog. Unfortunately, as our routines return to normal, people are realising that they can’t provide the care and attention that their dog deserves. To compound the problem, dogs that were used to being around their humans all day every day are now struggling to adapt to being left at home.”

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