Thousands of people who bought dogs for company during Covid lockdown periods are now callously abandoning them. Some owners are even pretending their dogs are strays in the hope of persuading animal charities to take them.
The first year of the Covid pandemic saw an unprecedented rise in the sale of dogs. More than three million pets were bought in the UK alone, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association. More than half of those were dogs, with cats also very popular. The sudden increase even led to shortages of pet food with supermarkets unable to cope with the increased demand.
Most were bought by people who suddenly found they had more time on their hands because they were working from home and didn’t have to bother with a daily commute. Being at home also meant they were more in control of their time, when they worked and when they took breaks.
This led many to buy a dog for companionship and at first, the new pets were good for people’s mental health, helping them to relax and providing them with a sense of purpose because they had something to care for and look after.
Of course, it’s a constant warning from animal charities and responsible kennels that owning a dog is a major commitment and should only by undertaken by those who have the time, energy and money to look after a pet properly. The phrase, a dog is for life, not just for Christmas, has even entered everyday language in the UK.
Unfortunately, the novelty of owning a dog quickly wore off for many people, or some just found they no longer had the time or the money to cope.
Some tried to sell their dogs but with so many on the market it was hard to find buyers. The next option was to simply abandon them.
This led to Britain facing a surge in the number of “fake stray dogs”.
The Hope Rescue centre in Wales said the number of dogs being dropped off at its rescue centre was the highest in its 15-year history. It expects the figures to rise over the next two years.
Some dog owners have even called dog wardens and pretended their pet is a stray so he’ll take it. Others have taken their dogs directly to a rescue centre claiming they had found it abandoned.
Many of the dogs arriving at rescue centres have health or behavioural problems, which makes them more difficult to rehome.
Animal charities are now reminding people that pets, especially dogs, can be expensive to look after properly and will take up a lot of your time. Think twice before you buy and remember that you will have to look after it and walk it every day for several years to come. That is a major commitment and shouldn’t be taken lightly.