Coronavirus: Pandemic could result in up to 40,000 homeless dogs, charity warns

July 27, 2020

Up to 40,000 dogs could become homeless due to the coronavirus pandemic, a charity has warned.

Dogs Trust says the economic effects of COVID-19 may force people to give up their pets or in some cases, put them to sleep.

The charity highlighted how the financial crash of 2008 lead to a more than 25% rise in the number of abandoned dogs, while euthanasia rates also rose by 25%.

This means the coronavirus crisis could result in more than 1,800 dogs in local shelters being put to sleep unnecessarily.

Behavioural problems developed during lockdown, such as separation anxiety, could worsen the fallout of the pandemic on the animals' welfare, Dogs Trust predicts.

Meanwhile, the demand for puppies increased significantly during lockdown, with Google searches for "buy a puppy" increasing by 166% since late March.

Owen Sharp, chief executive of Dogs Trust, 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."

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Mr Sharp added that the charity has already taken a number of dogs in from owners who have died from or been hospitalised with coronavirus.

"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," he said.

Dogs Trust has launched an urgent appeal to help ensure it can provide continued help for dogs in need.

The charity can be contacted on 0300 303 2188 by any dog owners that are struggling to look after their pets properly.
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