Hundreds of pets abandoned by owners who got them during pandemic

‘Lockdown puppies’ flood rescue centres: Hundreds of pets are being abandoned as owners who bought them for company during pandemic struggle to cope with caring for them

  • Adverts for unwanted pets have been posted on websites by owners
  • Hundreds of pets including dogs and cats are being abandoned at centres
  • RSPCA say they are ‘very concerned’ by the trend and says more will follow

Hundreds of ‘lockdown puppies’ are being resold or handed in to rescue centres – because short-sighted owners are struggling to cope only months after buying them.

Sellers have flooded pet websites with adverts for dogs aged between six and 12 months.

Rescue centres are being inundated with ‘lockdown puppies’ as owners return the dogs finding they do not have time for them (file picture)

Many owners admit they either do not have the time or the money to look after them.

The price of puppies surged to more than £3,000 for some breeds last year as many people started working from home or were furloughed.

Dozens of adverts have now appeared on sites such as Pets4you and Preloved as owners hope to recoup their costs.

In one, the owner of a six-month-old French bulldog in Birmingham, priced at £2,250, admitted they ‘don’t really have the time’.

Another owner, selling a seven-month-old springer spaniel for £2,000, explained: ‘She needs more than we can offer her.’

In Buckinghamshire, the seller of a six-month-old collie-spaniel cross costing £1,500 wrote: ‘Unfortunately, due to work commitments now we are no longer able to give him the loving and care he requires and deserves.’

Others meanwhile have turned to charities to help rehome their new pets, according to the Sunday Times, which exposed the issue.

More than 1,800 people have called the Dogs Trust over the past three months wanting to hand over dogs aged under one year old. The charity received 114 calls on December 27 and 28 alone, including for 19 puppies under nine months old.

One in five owners who bought a puppy during the pandemic had not fully considered the long-term responsibilities, according to research by the Kennel Club.

It found that a quarter of new owners admitted ‘impulse buying’ their puppy in the first months of the pandemic.

As the dogs reach adolescence, they have not been properly socialised and have boundless energy. This can lead to behavioural issues.

The RSPCA said it was ‘really concerned’ that so many dogs were being resold and was ‘bracing itself’ for more animals to be abandoned.

The charity said: ‘We were worried that many families who found themselves at home with time on their hands during lockdown would make impulse decisions to take on pets – and now, just a few months on, would be seeking to rehome their new dogs after realising how much commitment they are, having run into financial difficulties due to the pandemic, or because they’ve returned to work and no longer have time for them.’

Adam Clowes, operations director for the Dogs Trust, said it was important owners realised that having a dog was a ten to 15-year commitment.

He said: ‘All that initial lockdown excitement – “We are never going to have to go into the office again, let’s get a dog!” – we are now seeing the consequence of that.’

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