By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 13 February 2022 • 14:37
Animal charities in the UK are getting increasingly concerned as the warn dogs are being abandoned more and more as owners struggle with the cost of living and balancing a return to work with pet ownership.
Pet ownserhsip in the UK rose during the pandemic with more and more people at home looking for companionship, however the rising cost of food stuffs including pet food and the return to normal working conditions is having an impact.
Some charities are already experiencing an increase in the number of pets abandoned with the RSPCA concerned that this trend will go up rather than down as life returns to normal.
The RSPCA 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.”
Concern has also been expressed about breeders with many having taken advantage of the rise in prices which saw the 2019 average price of £876 rise to £2,237 in March 21. The price has since fallen 20% and is continuing downwards with a collapse in demand.
The fear is that breeders unable to turn a profit on the animals will either euthanize them or simply dump them.
Tess Bond from Worcestershire Animal Rescue Shelter told Sky News that they were also seeing an increase in abandoned dogs and hope more people would consider rehoming them rather than buying puppies.
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 problem is however not unique to the UK with similar difficulties being experienced in Spain with charities such as ACE animal shelter in Torrox having to stop taking in abandoned pets as they have been overwhelmed of late and have no further space. Sadly they report, there just aren’t the people willing to adopt the animals in any great numbers with supply far outstripping demand.
The RSPCA suggest that if you are struggling with returning to work or to make ends meet, then talk to your local shelter to see how they can help before the dog or pet is abandoned. If you are looking to get a pet then there is no shortage of wonderful animals currently being cared for in shelters across the UK and Spain and they will be delighted to assist you.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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