Dogs Trust sees rise in owners making heart-breaking decision to let their pets go

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Andy Dickenson

Countless dog owners are being forced to give up their pets due to the financial and practical fallout of the pandemic. 

That is the heart-breaking analysis of the Shoreham-based Dogs Trust charity that says it has seen a 40% spike in visitors desperate for help.

As part of a latest campaign it has released real life calls from people left with the most devastating choice of giving up their pets.

Owen Sharp from Dogs Trust says there are many reasons why owners have decided to give up their dog.

He said: "It may be people who have lost their jobs or who are facing real economic pressures, it may be people who have suffered behavioural problems with their dogs because they haven't been able to socialise with other dogs.

"We know that many, many more people have got puppies in particular during this period and not everyone's able to cope with that."

Seven spaniel puppies arrived at the centre two months ago.

Thankfully all of them have now been rehomed, including George.

Puppies in the care of Shoreham Dogs Trust Credit: Dogs Trust

George's new owner Fiona says she's reminded of the challenges owning a dog brings, but that the decision to rehome a dog must be a horrendous one.

She says: "It's been a couple of years since I've had a dog and I have to say I had blocked out a lot of the negative things that I have now been reminded of such as the expense and the mud, getting them to chew the right things and the time that takes to do so.

George with new owner Fiona Credit: ITV News Meridian

"It must be horrendous for them. There must be so many difficulties and something that has given them support in the past - to have to part with your pet? That must be horrendous. I can't even imagine that."

It is feared that these calls shed light on anguish many more owners could face in the months, and even years, ahead.

The charity is encouraging people to 'Change the Tale' and quickly seek advice.