Over 3.2 million pets were purchased during the pandemic between 2019 and 2022, but many of them have been abandoned since. In this Westminster World article, we list out why that is and also what solutions can help with the situation.
Dean Andrews, a resident of London who lives in a flat and cannot adopt dogs due to the law, said, “I’ve grown up with dogs, we had a bigger house back then. I now live in a flat, and I don’t think it would be right to adopt a dog if I’m unable to give it enough space to run and play around.”
“I imagine even though people have a lot going on in their lives, they are still a little lonely. They want a connection and in my experience, only a dog can provide. It’s a love that does not question. There should be prerequisites though before adoption, to check how the family members are and how the house will be.”
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We got in touch with Laura Hedges, who works with the charity All Dogs Matter, which is a rescue and rehoming charity. All Dogs Matter was founded in 2009, and they take in unwanted dogs from people who can no longer look after their pets. “We work with international charities, for example, we work with charities in China on the ground to stop dogs from the barbaric meat trade.”
On the abandonment of dogs in the recent past, she said they have had a lot of dogs that have come into their care as people who bought pets during the pandemic have been either leaving their dogs at pounds or leaving them on the streets to fend for themselves. “It’s got to the point now where we’re seeing two-year-old dogs that were bought at the start of the pandemic. They come in with behavioural issues, which makes it quite difficult to rehome, as they are no longer cute pandemic puppies.”
Don’t licence the dog, licence the people
Claese, whose daughter adopted a dog during the pandemic, said that he does not have a dog and would not want to adopt one, but understands why people wanted to get a pet. “Given everyone was home and some people away from their families, it makes sense that they wanted company. There should always be a proper procedure while buying or adopting, though. The people should be licenced, not the dogs.”
“They are not a Christmas present, that you can have and get rid of it later. There is more control where people are breeding dogs and not cross-breeding as much. There needs to be due diligence while adoption and there needs to be trackers or chips, so the police can trace the owners of abandoned dogs and take them to task,” said Diane, an HR executive, who had strong reservations about people abandoning dogs.
Some solutions that we at Westminster World came up with to cease dog abandonment are, trackers placed in the dog’s collar with information of the owner/adopter, a law with a strong punishment in place to hinder abandonment and finally the UK could set up an animal protection law like South Korea, where they have granted legal status to animals to tackle animal abuse and abandonment.
After going around and speaking to Londoners, we realised that people were lonely during the lockdown, which is why they considered adopting pets. But people were unable to comprehend what it meant to care for a fully grown dog. Some people said they would love to adopt pets that have been abandoned and that there should be stricter laws in place to disrupt abandonment.