Most shelters now full after flood of puppies with behaviour problems

By Neil Shaw

Three-quarters of dog shelters in the UK are now almost or completely full after a sudden spike in dogs under two-years-old being given away.

Shelters say half the dogs and young puppies being handed to them have behavioural problems.

The sharp rise in dogs being given to rescue centres comes as people return to work after the pandemic lockdown.

Thousands of people bought a new pet to keep the company while they were stuck at home.

A spokesman for German Shepherd Rescue Elite (GSRE) said: “Many of the dogs coming under our care were Covid puppies that are now aged between one and two years old.

"No longer an adorable puppy, but a clever, energetic dog who requires exercise, good food, training, and love.”

Rehoming Partner Manager at Agria Pet Insurance, Karen Green, said: “The situation we’re seeing in dog rescue now is a crippling perfect storm for many of them. Not only are they fuller than ever, but the behavioural issues shown by many of the dogs now needing homes often results in a much longer time needed before they are ready to be adopted - blocking places needed by other dogs. With significant financial pressures on top of this, many rescues we work with are at breaking point.”

A spokesman for Mrs Murray’s Home for Stray Cats and Dogs, said: “Like all charities, we have seen a decrease in our income due to the pandemic, and our supporters also facing their own financial problems, so maybe can’t support us like they used to. Any extra donations to us would mean so much, enabling us to buy enrichment items for the dogs in our care and help with veterinary costs.”

This latest research from specialist pet insurer A gria builds on their survey of UK puppy owners last year. This indicated that behaviour issues among ‘lockdown puppies’ were often the biggest challenge for new owners.

Tom Vaughan, Head of Marketing at Agria Pet Insurance, said: “Our own research in 2020, together with many more reports of the pandemic’s impact on dogs, led us to want to find out more about what the situation is right now in rescues - and do something practical to help.

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“As a dog owner myself, and working among a team of dog owners and animal lovers, it’s heart-breaking to discover the continued impact the past year is having on dogs, and also on the amazing rescues working so hard to do all they can to help. The Agria Dog Walk brings dogs and dog owners together to help those that need it the most.”

Agria Pet Insurance is aiming to help dogs and puppies in need of a home with the Agria Dog Walk = a fully virtual event created to encourage owners of more fortunate dogs to help those having a harder time – by dedicating a walk to a UK dog rescue, and donating to one of a selection included in the campaign.

For everyone who donates £5 or more, Agria Pet Insurance will also donate £5.

To find out more about the Agria Dog Walk, and to donate, visit www.agriapet.co.uk/agria-dog-walk, or see their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/agriapetuk/

Survey carried out in August 2021 among 300 UK dog rescues

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