Huge demand for lockdown dogs sees RSPCA rehome 290 canines in Somerset in 2020

By Susie Watkins

14th Oct 2021 | Local News

The RSPCA charity has reported 'unprecedented levels of interest' in dog rehoming during lockdown

Dog rehoming soared during lockdown as families spending more time at home due to the pandemic and home-working sought the companionship of a four-legged friend.

New figures, released this week by the RSPCA, reveal that 4,877 dogs were rehomed in 2020, despite the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. In Somerset the RSPCA rehomed 290 dogs in 2020.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: "At the beginning of lockdown we were concerned about how difficult it might be to rehome animals, especially as we had to pause all rehoming for several weeks until we were able to come up with a new rehoming model that adhered to the Government's guidelines.

"Once we had approval from Defra to re-launch rehoming, we were staggered by the levels of interest we had in our animals; particularly our dogs. We saw an unprecedented level of interest in rehoming dogs from families who were spending more time at home and wanted the company of a furry friend.

"We had 68% more visits to the Find A Pet section of our website between March 23 - the first day of lockdown - and December 31 compared to the previous year; and views of our 'rehoming a dog' information spiked by 87%. Many of our centres received hundreds of applications for individual dogs and some canines were being snapped up before they'd even been advertised online."

The charity launched virtual rehoming in order to continue rehoming animals while still sticking to the Government's restrictions on social distancing and non-essential travel. People were encouraged to apply for pets online and staff arranged video call interviews and meet and greets to match the right homes with the right people.

Dr Gaines added: "While most of our animals were snapped up quickly, there are some who have sadly been overlooked time and time again because of their colour, breed, age or background. This Adoptober, we want to try to find homes for all of the wonderful dogs who remain with us."

The RSPCA rescues animals from the worst abuse and neglect and, by giving them a home, you are giving them a second chance at life. As part of our rehoming drive this October - called Adoptober - we want to shine a light on all of the dogs in our care and encourage people to adopt instead of shop.

Dr Gaines added: "Our advice to anyone thinking of getting a dog is to do lots of research first to ensure that you can meet the needs of a dog. They are a huge commitment and responsibility, but they're also a wonderful addition to the family and are sure to bring you lots of joy and happiness.

"Sadly we are expecting to see more dogs coming into our care over the following months as people who are beginning to return to work find their dogs may struggle to cope at home alone, or because families cannot cope with behavioural problems or the costs of getting 'lockdown puppies' who are now struggling to adapt to adolescent and adult life.

"Anyone who needs help with their pet should speak to their vet, a clinical animal behaviourist or head to our website for advice."

For more information about Adoptober, visit www.rspca.org.uk/Adoptober and to see all the animals they have available for rehoming visit HERE the RSPCA Find A Pet page

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care call the donation line on 0300 123 8181.

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