Horror as number of abandoned dogs soars by 25 percent after coronavirus lockdown

There has been a 25 percent spike in pooches being dumped in Spain after restrictions were eased, according to research by the Royal Canine Society of Spain. The charity said there was a jump in demand for puppies when the lockdown was ordered in March.

But since the measures have been relaxed the number of dogs being abandoned has increased.

This is due to financial pressures and people unable to cope with the responsibility of owning a pet, the charity said.

Dogs have been taken to rescue centres and even dumped on the streets.

In the UK, the Dogs Trust has warned up to 40,000 dogs could be abandoned due to the coronavirus crisis.

Demand for puppies soared during the lockdown but the charity fears many pets could be given up due to the economic fallout from the pandemic.

The Dogs Trust has already taken in dogs from owners who have died from coronavirus or been left unable to care for their pooches.

The charity’s chief executive, Owen Sharp, said: “In these extraordinary times we know that circumstances can change in a heartbeat.

“The sad reality is that in times of financial hardship many people struggle to cope with looking after their pets, and the number of abandoned dogs has gone up.

“We saw this in 2008, and we’re extremely concerned that history could repeat itself in the coming months.

“We’ve already taken a number of dogs in from owners who have sadly passed away from or been hospitalised with COVID-19.

“We’re doing everything we can to minimise the impact of this crisis on dog welfare, and would urge anyone needing to give up their dog to please turn to us first, and we’ll do everything we possibly can to help you and your dog.

“But we know the worst is yet to come and, like all charities, Dogs Trust is being hit hard by this crisis.

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“We’re very grateful for the donations we have received and for this continued support.

“This will help us be there for as many dogs as possible and navigate the months and years ahead.”

In May, the charity temporarily changed its slogan “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas” to “a dog is for life, not just for lockdown”.

Mr Sharp said: “Dog ownership can be so rewarding, but it’s also a huge responsibility which is why we are reminding people today that a dog is for life, not just for lockdown.

Mr Sharp said: “Dog ownership can be so rewarding, but it’s also a huge responsibility which is why we are reminding people today that a dog is for life, not just for lockdown.

“Like Christmas, when people are at home more, they might think now is the perfect time to get a dog.

“For some people this will be the case, but we’re asking people to consider when the lockdown lifts how your life will need to change to accommodate your four-legged friend.

“We’re encouraging potential dog owners to carry out our new test to see if you’re dog ready.

“Are you ready to be chief pooper scooper? Are you ready to forego a lie-in ever again? As well as more serious questions around vet treatment and preparing for emergencies.”

The RSPCA also fears a surge in abandoned animals.

Dermot Murphy, head of the RSPCA’s animal rescue teams, said: “During lockdown we’ve seen pets become a source of comfort and support for people and it appears many people have taken on new animals.

“Fortunately during this time we’ve dealt with fewer abandoned pets however we are worried that as lockdown eases, people return to work, go on holidays or struggle financially we will be facing a massive surge of animal abandonments.”

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