Animal welfare organizations prepare for an influx of abandoned pets this winter as rising cost of living, Christmas and Covid take their toll on families.
The pandemic resulted in an increase in the number of people having pets, with an estimated 3.2 million welcoming a four-legged friend into the family.
But as the nation enjoys the festive season, The Dogs Trust and RSPCA warn that many of these animals could be tossed aside.
They saw a 182% increase in visits to their websites searching for information about dropping off a dog, a 39% increase in phone calls from people wanting to drop off a pet, and a 55% increase in email inquiries.
Behavioral issues are the biggest driving factor behind the rise, according to Dogs Trust.
Something it says has been upset by changes in our usual routines.
Operations Director Adam Clowes said, “The demand for dogs reached an all-time high during the pandemic and adding a dog to the family has changed the lives of many people.
“Dog ownership is a huge commitment, however, and some people are now discovering as life returns to normal that, unfortunately, their new circumstances have left them unable to look after their dog.
“One of the most common reasons dogs are given to Dogs Trust is because of behavioral issues that could have been prevented early on.
“An increase in problem behaviors, made worse by changes in the dog’s routine when its owners return to pre-pandemic work and life, could mean families have no choice but to give up their dog.”
Last December, the RSPCA received 51,815 calls for abandoned animals, including 770 calls on Christmas Day, 1,091 on Boxing Day and 1,691 calls on New Year’s Eve.
Between December 2020 and February 2021 there were 3,004 reports of abandonment in England and Wales and 12,344 of neglect.
The specialist in dog protection, Dr. Sam Gaines said that while the expected spike in suspensions had not yet occurred, the charity was aware that the next few months would be difficult for many.
She said the charity was “very prepared for an influx of pets as a result of the pandemic”.
“We haven’t seen this happen to the extent we had imagined, which we are of course very happy about,” she said.
“But we are now seeing some animals being released and extradited to the RSPCA.”
The RSPCA is the only charity with rescue teams rescuing all types of neglected and abandoned animals across England and Wales.
To strengthen its resources this winter, the animal welfare organization has launched a Christmas rescue call.
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