RSPCA is urging families who are struggling to care for their pets not to rehome online but to seek help from reputable charities and rescue centres.
The warning comes after the charity was forced to rescue a dog after it had been advertised on the website Pets 4 Homes as ‘free to a good home’ by his previous owner. The previous owner then rehomed him to a teenage girl who enquired about him without her mum’s knowledge.
In addition, Dr Samantha Gaines, pet welfare expert, at RSPCA said she is concerned about the “possible surge in the number of dogs being rehomed over coming months as a result of coronavirus”.
According to Gaines, financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic may lead owners to give their pet to a rescue charity or feel like they have no choice “but to abandon their pet”.
Gaines said: “We have serious concerns about all of the ‘pandemic pets’ that have been brought during lockdown while families were based at home and had more time on their hands.
“We fear that as life begins to return to normal and people return to work they may feel they no longer have time for their pets or cannot cope with behavioural issues that arise out of a change in routine and we may see more animals being relinquished, abandoned or given away online.”
She added: “We understand that circumstances change and, sometimes, families are forced to make difficult decisions for their pets. If you need to rehome your pet we’d urge you never to advertise them ‘free to a good home’ online but, instead, to seek help or support from a reputable charity or rescue centre who can help guarantee that your pet finds a new home that meets their needs.”