Dogs Trust has warned about an increase in pets being abandoned, as some people find themselves no longer able to look after them post-lockdown.

A young staffie who found himself on the streets to fend himself is one of the lucky animals taken in by Dogs Trust. He is soon to get his forever home thanks to help from the charity.

The rehoming centre in Ballymena has been coping with an increasing number of abandoned pets or calls from owners who are no longer able to care for their dog.

“During lockdown, everyone wasn't sure what was going on, they were maybe working from home suddenly so they had all this time to devote to a dog, but now they're maybe not able to work from home anymore, and they are having to leave the dog,” Sarah Park from Dogs Trust in Ballymena explained. “If you do have to part with your dog, and you can't keep them, please do contact Dogs Trust or other rescues to rehome them, rather than abandon them.”

Staff are still working at the centre to look after the dogs and find them new homes while it is closed to the public. Credit: UTV

The shelter remains closed to visitors while the coronavirus crisis continues but staff are still working to find new owners for the pets. “We get to spend a lot more time with the dogs, giving them that little bit more TLC, some of them were quite nervous, and what we were able to do was to bring them out of their shells so they could actually find that really special home,” Emma Martin, who works at the centre, said.

The charity is urging people to talk to them if they can no longer cope with looking after a pet. Ms Park added: "It does make our job a lot harder if we have no idea what the dog's history is, age is, health, anything like that, its stay here would be a lot longer than if we were able to ask people what sort of home the dog is looking for, that makes for a faster rehome."

There are currently 40 dogs being looked after in the centre and anyone interested in giving one a home can find more details on Dogs Trust social media and website.