~ Adopt ~
We are a world of animal lovers. While dogs remain the most popular pet, there are households worldwide with some form of animal companion, whether it is a cat, rabbit or even a reptile. In 2020, the world changed drastically and this has had a profound effect on our furry friends.
The global coronavirus pandemic has caused a dramatic change in the world’s pet population. At the beginning of 2020, there was a sharp increase in the number of puppies being purchased from private breeders, with kittens not far behind.
Unfortunately, 2020 also saw one of the highest surrender rates, mostly due to the effects of the pandemic, but also many owners buying their pets on a whim. When lockdowns were announced and people realised they would be stuck indoors for months on end, there was a huge rise in pets being purchased as people wanted the company, however, many of these people failed to consider the financial impact of a pet or the considerable time needed to train them.
Many people have lost their jobs this year or had their hours cut, so the financial effects have meant owners have been forced to make difficult decisions. Welsh charity Hope Rescue has seen a 100% increase in pet surrenders, while The Pet Fund in California is receiving double the daily phone calls for help with veterinary care.
Another cause of the increase in pets being purchased and later surrendered is the high number of backyard breeders. In the last 5 years the demand for so-call ‘designer dogs’ has sky-rocketed and breeders have really latched on to that. They are purely there for profit, caring little about the health and welfare of the animals they breed. The conditions are terrible and dogs are bred often with little rest between litters. Puppies and kittens are sold too young and often with a long list of illnesses.
Many puppies and kittens end up with long-term illnesses that the owner cannot afford to treat, often requiring surgeries and physical rehabilitation. The number of sick pets surrendered to charities has increased drastically since the start of the pandemic, but has been rising steadily for the last 10 years.
Adopt Don’t Shop
The term ‘adopt don’t shop’ has been around for decades, but never has it held such importance as it does today. There are millions of animals in rescue centres around the world waiting for their forever home. Some may never get the chance, as many shelters euthanise animals due to overcrowding. Long-term illness or old age are also reasons a shelter may decide to euthanise an animal.
To combat this issue, hundreds of private organisations, charities and sanctuaries are doing what they can to take animals from high kill shelters and place them with foster homes until they can be found a permanent, loving home. They also work hard to raise awareness of the adoption crisis to educate the public about backyard breeders and encourage more families to adopt rather than purchase their pets.