A rescue dog was returned to the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home because it “didn’t match the sofa.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been turning to companion animals for comfort and friendship. With more people working from home, a lot of people felt they could take on the responsibility of a new pet.
In fact, so many people were seeking out new pets, that the Battersea Dogs and Cats home was getting 1,500 calls inquiring about animals nearly every day during lockdown. According to HertsLive, the former CEO of the rescue, Claire Horton, revealed that the demand for new pets skyrocketed over the pandemic.
In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Horton shared that they struggled to meet the demand for pets. She said:
“We were getting 1,500 calls almost every day and applications onto our online rehoming portal.
And we just didn’t have those animals. I mean, you know, there were no rescue animals in rescues at that time for a number of reasons.”
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Unfortunately, the lack of rescue animals needing adopting led many people to buy pets from puppy mills, pet shops that source from puppy mills, or “adopt” from Craiglist and Facebook. Dogs from those sources can be stolen, neglected, poorly bred, taken from their moms too soon, and improperly socialized.
Horton confirmed that puppy mill farmers were “churning out puppies left and right” during the pandemic due to the increased demand.
In the interview, Horton revealed that they do accept “returned” animals from people who adopted and can no longer care for them.
On average, about 10% of animals are returned, usually due to reasonable circumstances. She said that some people experience major life changes like death, illness, divorce, and more. However, there are others who are just unaware of what pet ownership really looks like.
According to the interview, some people end up unable to afford the costs of an animal when factoring in vet fees, food, and insurance. Others are not expecting animals to have potty accidents or chew on things.
However, Horton cited the most outrageous reason for returning a pet, saying, “We’ve even had a dog come back once because it didn’t match the sofa!” Understandably, that person is now banned from ever adopting an animal from the rescue. While the rescue very rarely bans people from adopting, this particular case was too extreme to ignore.
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