RSPCA warns of ‘Major dog welfare crisis’ after sharp rise in dogs sold online.
The RSPCA has said it has responded to 5,955 reports about abandoned dogs since the start of the pandemic. One of the UK’s largest online pet marketplaces, Pets4Homes, has recorded a 51% increase in demand for puppies since the pandemic began.
A total of 466,601 dogs have been advertised on the Pets4Homes web site so far, with prices increasing on average by 131%.
Veterinary Surgeon and ambassador for the RSPCA, Rory Cowlam, expects to see a spike in the number of dogs being abandoned this year as a result. He said, quote:”Abandonments are going to happen because people have got puppies on a whim. They’ve been putting off getting a dog for years and years, they’re suddenly furloughed or they’re at home more and more and they think now’s the right time to get a dog.”
Mr Cowlam added that the rising demand has also led to worrying “increases in puppy theft and, unfortunately, increases in things like puppy farming and irresponsible breeding”. The impact of ‘lockdown puppies’ will hit already-struggling rescue centres in the coming months after the number of people looking for puppies online during recent months soared by 650% and imports of dogs doubled.
Experts are urging anyone thinking of taking on a dog to ‘Adopt Don’t Shop’ this year as new figures reveal that, during the lockdown, Google searches for ‘Puppies near me’ increased more than six times (650%) with 15,000 searches in July 2020 compared to 2,000 in January 2020. The figure was also five times higher than the same month last year (July 2019) and is still on the increase.
And Government figures show the numbers of licences issued for the commercial import of dogs more than doubled from 5,964 (June – August 2019) to 12,733 for the same three-month period this year. The figures suggest that this rise in demand is fuelling a worrying trend in breeding and importing of puppies, which, if not bought from a responsible breeder, is a potentially exploitative and damaging trade which can cause life-long suffering to dogs.
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