Animal welfare

Warwickshire dog rescue charity warns of animal welfare ‘crisis’ due to rising cost of living

A CRISIS in animal welfare is developing due to the rapidly rising cost of living, according to a rugby dog ​​rescue charity.

Pawprints Dog Rescue staff say they are under enormous pressure as the rise in pet ownership is met with squeezing household budgets.

Like all rescue centers across the UK, the charity is receiving an unprecedented number of requests from owners wanting to return their dogs, as repatriation slows and more people seek to give up their pets of company.

It is currently at capacity, with many dogs receiving medical attention for previously untreated health conditions, including tumors and major skin and eye conditions, which is putting enormous financial pressure on the charity.

Chief Operations Officer Anita Twigger said: ‘We have an avalanche of dogs who suddenly need rescue space. It has been many years since we have been able to find space outside of the organization.

“The nation must realize that the sector is in crisis. We need help now – in a few months it will be too late.

Recent research from the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (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 the previous two years. There is also evidence to suggest that there is a similar trend for cats.

Halita Obineche, Executive Director of ADCH, 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 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 emerged from lockdown struggling with a lack of funds and a shortage of experienced staff. They are overstretched – both in terms of space and emotional toll in the face of an epidemic of dog abandonment.

In one survey, 70% of ADCH member rescues reported an influx of dogs with behavioral issues. This is in line with studies indicating that inexperienced dog owners abandon dogs they acquired during lockdown and are now unable to care for – and anecdotal evidence suggests similar reasons for cat abandonments.

Sara Atkinson, Founder and Managing Director of Yorkshire Cat Rescue, said: “We have seen a marked drop in the number of offers of accommodation we receive. There has also been an influx of cats and kittens due to owners struggling to afford 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.”

Pawprints has saved the lives of over 2,000 dogs across Rugby, Leamington, Warwick, Daventry and Nuneaton over the past 10 years.

The association is appealing for volunteers and donations to help the association get through the crisis. Visit www.pawprintsdogrescue.org or email [email protected] for more information.

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