The charity Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has seen a number of calls in recent months from owners looking to rehome their dog. The figure has now reached 3,186 - almost double last year's figure for September and October.
Reasons behind the calls vary and many are due to a change in circumstance such as house moves or eviction, and sometimes sad and dangerous situations such as domestic abuse. Sometimes it can be because the owner took on the dog without fully thinking it through, and quickly realise they cannot cope with the responsibility of a pet.
One of the dogs who has arrived at the Home is three-month-old Zara. Terrified and in pain, the German Shepherd puppy was a sorry sight when she arrived last month; she had been abused and had a broken leg and serious wound to her ear. Fortunately, Zara recovered and has even formed a bond with her new carers.
Battersea’s Intake Manager, Steven Craddock, said, "While working at Battersea is hugely rewarding, it can be devastating too – especially when we see tragic cases like Zara’s. All too often, animals come through Battersea’s doors with serious injuries sustained through neglect, cruelty and ignorance. Some have come from puppy farms and have never been properly socialised; others have been used for repeated breeding and are left with shocking health problems as a result.
"In September and October this year, we’ve seen a huge spike in enquiries from people wishing to rehome their dogs and while they’re doing the right thing by bringing their pets in to us so we can find them a new home, it’s heartbreaking to see the state that some of these dogs arrive in."
These issues were highlighted last night at Battersea’s annual Collars & Coats Gala Ball, sponsored by Vitabiotics SuperDog and Medivet the Vet, an annual fundraiser that helps support the charity’s vital work rescuing and rehabilitating unwanted and abandoned animals.
While anybody wishing to rehome a dog or cat from Battersea will be carefully assessed, the Home is spreading its message further afield. Battersea’s Community Engagement teams hold workshops in prisons, schools and communities across London to educate people on what it means to take on a pet and to discuss the serious animal welfare issues the Home deals with on a daily basis, including backstreet breeding, animal cruelty and neglect, and puppy farming.
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home gives all potential new owners help and advice before taking on a pet. To find out more, visit their website here.