Animal welfare

Rising cost of living ‘leading to animal welfare crisis’

Berwick Animal Rescue Kennels (BARK) and the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) have warned of an animal welfare crisis caused by rising rates of pet ownership colliding with the cost pressures of life.

BARK is seeing an increase in the number of animals in its care – whether abandoned or abandoned – and has been full for over five months.

Manager Jan Ross said: “We try to operate at around 90 per cent capacity which allows for emergencies. In the last six months there has been one and, if we are lucky, only one and 100% capacity in all areas.

Flick pictured in July, left, and a photo of her taken last week.

“Owners must feel desperate to abandon their pets, but the pets suffer much more because of their actions.

“We don’t have any history on these animals, we can’t even give them their names to comfort them. That aside, what about the ones we can’t find? Unthinkable.”

One example she gave was Flick, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, who was abandoned on a remote road and picked up by passers-by. The true extent of his poor health soon became apparent.

She was extremely thin, had infected skin, ears, and eyes, and had overgrown fingernails, severe dental disease, a lump that needed to be removed, a hernia, a high-grade heart murmur, and a loose lens in her eye. eye.

Fortunately, Flick is better now. She has had dental work and her bump removed, and the infections and skin are receiving ongoing treatment, although she will need regular medication for the rest of her life for her heart and eyes.

Recent research from ADCH shows that the demand for rescue dogs has declined over the past year, while the number of abandoned dogs is higher in 2022 than in 2021 and 2020.

Halita Obineche, the association’s executive director, said: ‘There has been a huge increase in the number of people buying locked out pets and we are dealing with the fallout.

“Inexperienced owners unable to handle pets with behavioral issues caused by poor training and lack of socialization, workers returning to the office and now the rising cost of living are combining to create a national crisis of good – being an animal.”