With restrictions easing across the UK and many returning to full time work, the RSPCA has warned about dogs being abandoned as owners struggle with returning to work and the cost of living rises.
Charities are growing concerned that breeders could find themselves with puppies that they can’t turn a profit on and could even dump them as demand and prices go down for dogs.
The RSPCA, the largest animal welfare charity in the UK, is warning that as people return to work after the pandemic, and struggle with the increased cost of living, more dogs and other animals will be abandoned.
The charity recently rescued six puppies dumped in a crate at the side of a main road in Kent and said that over Christmas, they rescued 29% more animals than the previous year.
Dr Samantha Gaines, a pet welfare expert for the RSPCA, said: ‘We are seeing an increase in the number of animals being abandoned as well as being surrendered. We fear this could worsen as people return to the office or struggle with increasing costs of living.
‘We believe that one of the main reasons people fail to care for their pets properly or end up abandoning them is a lack of research before they get their pet and a misunderstanding about the cost of pet ownership.’
According to online marketplace Pets4Homes, before the pandemic the average price of a dog in the UK was £876.
That rose to £2,237 in March 2021, but by the summer that was down to £1,873 and it continues to fall.
Tess Bond at the Worcestershire Animal Rescue Centre and Percy the greyhound charities are also concerned that as demand and prices go down, the more callous breeders could find themselves with puppies that they can’t turn a profit on and could even dump them. She said: ‘We’re seeing a lot of people who’ve lost their jobs through COVID and can’t afford their animals anymore.
‘We’re getting a lot of animals come in who aren’t very well because the owners can’t afford the vet care and we are definitely seeing people who’ve taken on dogs during the pandemic are now going back to work and don’t have the time for them anymore.’
The shelter, in Malvern, is managing to find homes for some of their dogs including Bella, an energetic husky-cross who will soon go home with new owner TJ Gibbons.
She said: ‘I believe in second chances. There are so many dogs out there that need that second chance – take Bella for example – she had a loving home but they just couldn’t look after her anymore so it’s not her fault and she deserves the love that any dog can get.’
For more information about managing your returning to full time work and dog ownership, find out more at the RSPCA.