Strict penalties envisaged for those who abandon animals purchased in confinement
The government is considering new measures, including tougher penalties, for people who abandon pets purchased during the lockdown, in a bid to deal with the expected increase in the number of pets left at home or abandoned altogether. .
It comes amid fears that the increase in the number of people buying ‘locked puppies’ could reverse trend with abandoned or unattended pets when owners return to work.
It is believed that the UK will likely see up to 27% more stray dogs over the next five years.
Animal welfare charities, including Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, have sounded the alarm.
In a recent report, the organization revealed the potential impact of Covid-19 and the first lockdown on dogs and cats.
The organization is also calling on the government to do more to help rescues of troubled animals across the UK, declaring “pandemic pets impulse-bought and suffering from irresponsible breeding.”
The government’s pet theft task force plans include punishing people who leave their dogs at home for long periods of time.
According to The Telegraph, 2.2 million people bought dogs in the first six months of lockdown.
Battersea found that more than 40% of people who bought puppies during the lockdown admitted that they had not previously planned to have a dog.
And many of these animals may have been inadvertently acquired from less reputable sources.
Battersea General Manager Claire Horton said: “We are always here for struggling owners and will continue to keep our doors open for people who can no longer take care of their animals and make the responsible choice to bring them to the home. relief rather than selling them online or worse, abandoning them.
Some of the cases brought to Battersea over the past year highlight the hardships new owners face as a result of the pandemic.
Casper, a Maine Coon cat, was found abandoned in Battersea Park in a transporter with a heartbreaking note attached from his owner.
He explained that they had lost their jobs due to the pandemic and could not afford to pay for his medical problems.
Casper’s fur was badly matted and it took weeks of processing before staff found him a home.
The Spitz puppy was brought to Battersea in August after his owners, who had bought him from a breeder, realized he had serious congenital eye problems that they couldn’t afford to treat.
Rocco was sent to one of the host families in Battersea where he remained under the association’s veterinary care.
After finally getting the green light, he was able to go to a new house.
The Bichon Frize Poppy cross was brought to the Old Windsor center in Battersea in October when its owners could no longer afford the vet fees for their pet.
When the team at the charity’s clinic gave Poppy a routine admission check, they discovered that the health problems with her ears and skin were more serious than previously thought. thought before.
She is still being looked after by Battersea and is not yet ready for a new home.
Sophie and Maya
The Maltese sisters were bought from a breeder via Gumtree for almost £ 4,000.
When their owner realized they weren’t the right pets for her, she first tried returning them to the breeder, but ultimately decided they had better come to Battersea where they would be responsibly relocated.
The five-month-old couple had been imported from Romania.
Battersea has since found a new home for them.