Crisis in dog rescue centres

Posted on 04th April 2024 | in Community

Dog rescue centres in the UK are overflowing with unwanted/unloved dogs for many different reasons, one of the most common still being the result of the Covid pandemic.

Lockdown ended, owners went back to work, and these “companions” became superfluous and are ending up in the rescue centres, if they’re lucky! Twenty percent of new dog owners who bought a puppy during the Covid-19 pandemic said they didn’t know whether their dog would still suit their lifestyle after the lockdown.
Another reason is the cost-of-living crisis, indeed the RSPCA has reported a 24% increase in pets being handed over to rescue centres last year, and it’s only going to get worse.

As a result, rescue centres are currently under enormous pressure, and there’s no sign of the situation easing at any time.
At the Northumberland Dog Rescue Centre just outside Alnwick, we recently had four rehoming enquiries, all of which we had to decline; with 20 dogs already on our waiting list we could not take them in.

This is just an example where owners are trying to do the right thing, after a change in their circumstances, wanting to find a new loving home for their dogs. I dread to think how many are just abandoned at a roadside and left to die or fend for themselves!
There is no short-term fix to this crisis within the dog world, while rescue centres are overflowing with unwanted dogs, dog breeders are continuing to bring more and more puppies into the population.

So how can this situation be eased long term?
Prospective dog owners should ask themselves the following questions when adding a four-legged member to their family:
• Can you afford it? Not just food and general care, but the inevitable vets bills over the lifetime of the dog.
• Who will look after your dog when you go on holiday?
• Can you care for the dog for the normal expected lifespan of the dog?
• Are you prepared for the lifestyle changes that you will have to make to look after your dog properly?
“A dog is for life” is not just a saying, it should become everyone’s mantra.

Lee Fraser
Northumberland Dog Rescue

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