The Covid pandemic has prompted ‘panic buying of pets for company’ by thousands of Britons, a leading animal charity warns today.
Research by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home suggests nearly a third of new pet owners bought an animal ‘on impulse’ in or around lockdown.
Chief executive Claire Horton says: ‘The animal welfare implications resulting from this year of extreme challenge could be profound.’
The charity, which rehomes animals in London and the Home Counties, polled 2,000 dog and cat owners who acquired a new pet during the national lockdown.
A third of new pet owners bought an animal ‘on impulse’ in or around lockdown, research found. The Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, who conducted the research warned of the animal welfare implications resulting from ‘panic buying of pets’ (file image)
It found 31 per cent had done so despite not having considered getting a dog or cat before.
Battersea also predicts the number of dogs abandoned as strays over the next five years could increase by around 27 per cent based on data from previous economic recessions.
The charity’s report says: ‘The impulse buying of pets under lockdown is likely to create long-term welfare problems for these animals.
‘Concerns include behavioural issues arising from limited opportunities for socialisation during lockdown, post-lockdown regrets about buying a puppy and more unscrupulous selling of underage and poorly bred puppies leading to serious health problems.
They also predicted the number of dogs abandoned over the next five years could increase by 27 per cent based on data from previous economic recessions (stock image)
‘Many are likely to be given up or abandoned as their owners become unable to cope.’
The report also raises concerns about the lack of income for rescue centres in the pandemic.
Mrs Horton warns of a ‘potential catastrophe’ if they are forced to close.
She adds: ‘This, combined with the looming economic crisis and the fact so many puppies and kittens were bought on impulse by people who may later struggle to care for them, could create a perfect storm.’