NEWS AND COMMENT: Apparently, British owners can no longer feed their dogs because they are giving them up to shelters at a record rate. According to research for the ITV programme Tonight, as reported in The Times newspaper, about 42,000 people asked the Dogs Trust to rehome their pets this year as they can no longer afford to feed them or pay veterinarian bills.
The number of relinquishments is up almost 50% on the same period last year. The Blue Cross Animal Hospital in Grimsey has opened a pet food bank for residents.
Amanda Sands, the centre manager at Dogs Trust Leeds said, as reported by The Guardian newspaper:
“There’s people bringing in their dogs that at one time would’ve said: ‘I will never give my dog up.’ And they meant it. And now they’re faced with the situation where they have no choice. To have to say goodbye to your friend, it’s unbearable. It’s unthinkable.”
She paints a very gloomy picture. ITV’s Tonight programme features, as I understand it, a survey by the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes in conjunction with ITV of more than 50 animal shelters across the country. They were investigating as to how cat and dog owners had reacted to the cost of living crisis.
They concluded that 92% of shelters were seeing more people who wanted to hand over their dog compared to the rate of relinquishments at pre-pandemic levels. With respect to cats, 88% of shelters were seeing more people who wanted to give up their cat compared to pre-pandemic levels. Note: A contributing cause is the high level of impulse purchases of trendy dogs during the pandemic lockdowns. There is no need for the high levels of surrenders. More common sense is required and self-discipline. I know I sound boring but it’s true.
More than half the shelters were planning to set up pet food banks. About 30% were thinking of providing low-cost or free veterinary care services.
Separately, the RSPCA reported a 24% increase in pets being rehomed in 2022 compared to last year as I understand it. They claim that their shelters are ‘drowning in animals’.
The Blue Cross Animal Hospital in Grimsey reports that about 75 families use their pet food bank every week.
One dog owner, Mark, who lives with a Staffordshire bull terrier says that he saves £60 a month on food by using a pet food bank! The high cost is because is dog requires specialist food apparently.
Comment: I don’t want to sound particularly negative, but I do want to sound realistic. People should not adopt a companion animal unless they are able with certainty to provide for that animal throughout their life come what may. Only in the most severe circumstances should they give up the animal to a shelter. My gut feeling is that too many people adopt cats and dogs on an impulse without planning a budget to ensure that they can cope financially with good animal caregiving including good food and vet’s bills.
Family finances should be geared up to deal with crises. Not enough people save for a rainy day. This is an old-fashioned concept. The trend nowadays is to spend all of your income. Wrong. Bad. As they say ‘sh*t happens!’ You have to be able to deal with the unexpected and that means saving money. And if your income is insufficient to save you need to cut your overheads.
Neither do I want to sound insensitive, but the same argument applies to having children. If you can’t afford to have kids don’t have them. Don’t plan to rely on the state to fund their parenting. In the UK, too many people do. It has become a sloppy, careless and in general lazy country.
The root is this current problem is not the cost-of-living crisis but sloppy budgeting by families.