Animal charity is already seeing the consequences of the rising cost of living
PAWS fears this is the start of an animal welfare crisis caused by an increase in the number of pet owners
rates colliding with cost of living pressures. The charity sees an increase in the number of animals
supported with many Irish centers already full and others close to capacity, such as
repatriation is slowing and more and more people are looking to give up their pets.
The Tipperary-based charity, which rescues and rehomes abandoned dogs from all over
Ireland has taken in 126 dogs so far in 2022, up from 191 by the same date in 2021.
We currently have 105 dogs in our care and an unpaid veterinary bill of over €48,000.
At the heart of our action is the prevention or alleviation of animal suffering. Like many of
dogs rescued or entrusted to us suffer from illness, accident or even illness
treatment, a necessary part of their care and well-being requires veterinary treatment.
We have received some support through the Covid Employers Wage Subsidy Scheme, but have not
qualify for any other Covid government support. which have all been granted to man
charities. This help has allowed our small team to function throughout the pandemic. However,
the subsidy was based on income 30% lower than the equivalent period in 2019 (almost
impossible task for charities to foresee) and in our case, a few ad hoc calls and a
inheritance means that we have been informed that we are not eligible for certain periods,
and today we find ourselves in the unenviable position of having to repay €25,000 to income
Recent research by the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) shows that the demand for
rescue dogs has decreased over the past year as the number of abandoned dogs is
higher in 2022 than in 2021 and 2020. Although there seems to be variation in the evidence
for cat abandonments, there is strong anecdotal evidence to suggest that there is a
trend for cats.
PAWS, the Tipperary-based charity that rescues and rehomes abandoned dogs from all over Ireland has taken in 126 dogs so far in 2022, up from 191 by the same date in 2021.
70% of ADCH members surveyed report an influx of dogs with behavioral issues.
This is consistent with studies indicating that inexperienced dog owners abandon dogs they
acquired during confinement and which they can no longer take care of, due to various factors.
Anecdotal evidence from our members also suggests that there are similar reasons for the
This could be due to many reasons such as post-lockdown lifestyle changes and increased
the cost of living which directly affects the ability of owners and new adopters to be able to pay
for the care of their animals. We have seen an increase in abandonments due to owners struggling to pay vet fees and we have also seen a significant increase in the number of
unwanted litters. Rescues are now struggling to cope, and we are now at breaking point.
Halita Obineche, Executive Director of ADCH, said: “There has been a huge increase in the number of people
get pets locked out and we take care of the fallout. Inexperienced owners unable
to manage pets with behavioral problems caused by poor training and lack of socialization;
workers returning to the office; and now the rising cost of living, all combined to create a
national animal welfare crisis.
“Our members have come out of lockdown struggling with a lack of funds and a shortage of
experienced staff. They are overloaded – both in terms of space and emotional charge
dealing with an epidemic of dog abandonment.
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