Pandemic pets: shelters facing crisis as people hand over dogs

  • Report by James Mahon

Since the first lockdown more than 3 million UK homes have added a pet to their family. However with furlough ending this week and covid restrictions lifting more pandemic pets are being given to shelters or sold on.

The Dogs Trust say they have seen a 35% increase in people asking about giving their dogs up - and it's a trend that's being reflected in our region.

Hazel Halliday, Veterinary Surgeon, Ark Vets Lockerbie, "We have had a lot more dogs and cats coming through, people that may have had one dog now have a few and certainly a lot more puppies."

Research from the Doodle Trust in Castle Douglas has found that a number of pets that were purchased at the beginning of the first lockdown are now being put up for sale for more than the price they were purchased for and this trend is happening across the South of Scotland.

Barb Turnbull, Founder of Doodle Trust UK, "Sometimes they pass from one person to the next to the next for silly amounts of money until they do end up with us and with major behavioural problems"

Lack of socialisation

Experts  warn that the lack of puppy classes and training sessions over the last year will also leave many families feeling like they have no choice but to say goodbye.

Barb Turnbull, Founder of Doodle Trust UK, "dogs are showing aggression, people can't cope with, severe separation anxiety, they have had people with them all the time and now they don't, so the dogs destroys the house or screams the place down"

Credit: PA

Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club said: “This new research worryingly shows that if dogs can’t go to places with their owners, and fit their lifestyle post-pandemic, some will be left home alone for too long, or even sadly rehomed or abandoned.

“These consequences could be quite devastating for the nation’s dogs, who frankly don’t deserve to be left behind after being there for so many during lockdown.”

What to consider before getting a dog

Dogs can live up to 16 years, depending on the breed, so it is a long commitment - and can be expensive.

The Dogs Trust has advice on what to consider before getting a pet.

The Kennel Club has advice on how to care for a new puppy so they grow up to be happy healthy, and well behaved.

Credit: PA

Greyhound rescue

It is not just pets which are impacted by the pandemic but also professional including greyhounds including Alfie's Greyhounds in Lockerbie and Moffat, Mandy Bleasdale, Founder of Alfie's Greyhounds, 

"We are absolutely overrun, we usually have 10 dogs in the kennels, we currently have 25 in the kennels and another 5 on the waiting list"

Credit: ITV News

The RSPCA are advising pet owners who are returning to work or coming off furlough  to support their dogs and cats in adjusting to a new routine.

Vets advise speaking to them directly and seeking guidance from local rehoming shelters if you or your family want to part with your pandemic pet.