Disturbing new data revealed by The Times has shown a surge in people either selling or giving their puppies to adoption centres after making impulse decisions to buy a pet during the pandemic.
This comes just months after prices for puppies surged during lockdown, as many people started looking for a companion while they were at home.
Throughout lockdown, the Countryside Alliance, among other organisations, has repeatedly raised concerns about the rise in puppy impulse purchases.
In May 2020, Alliance Chief Executive Tim Bonner wrote: ' It is inevitable that many of the lockdown puppies will become more than a handful for their new owners, especially when the real world of work and competing interests returns. A cocker spaniel puppy may be the sweetest thing in the world at eight weeks old, but as anyone who has ever owned one will attest, at eight months they can resemble a baby-faced psychopath with an obsessive hunting gene. Whilst the welfare of all dogs is important, there is something especially worrying about the thought of working breeds being bought for their looks and ending up in unsuitable homes where their need for exercise and stimulation might not be met.'
Sadly, one in five owners who purchased or adopted puppies during lockdown said they had not considered long-term responsibilities, according to research carried out by Kennel Club.
New data reveals that 1,800 people have called Dog's Trust over the past three months, all looking to give up dogs under the age of one.
Between December 27 and December 28 alone, they received 114 calls about giving up dogs, with 19 of these being puppies under nine-months-old.
Sarah Lee, Head of Policy at the Countryside Alliance said: 'Although incredibly concerning, the latest data is not highly surprising to those that have observed the rising sale of lockdown puppies. Of course, puppies and dogs make superb companions and are incredibly helpful in the fight against loneliness and isolation but the fact is they require a huge amount of attention and care; much like a young child.
She added: 'Clearly, a number of recent puppy purchasers have not carried out sufficient research before making the decision. We cannot have a situation where new owners are more interested in social media picture 'likes' of the their new puppy than they are in providing sufficient care for it. This is simply unacceptable and puts a huge amount of strain on overstretched animal shelters, as well as stress for the dogs and puppies involved. With further restrictions at the local level inevitable, the Alliance strongly reiterates its plea to those thinking of buying a new puppy, to think incredibly carefully about whether they are seriously in it for the long term and can meet its needs. A dog is for life, not just for lockdown.'
For further information about caring for your dog during the pandemic, please see this helpful guide from The Kennel Club.