Sittingbourne Large Breed Dog Rescue volunteer reveals cost of living crisis pressure on pet owners
People are threatening to put their dogs down due to the cost of living crisis, an animal rescue charity has revealed.
Large Breed Dog Rescue volunteer Jo Wood, from Sittingbourne, says the charity has been overwhelmed by pet owners who cannot afford rising vet bills.
The rescue, founded in 2013, is based in Greenhithe, but the team’s five volunteers work around the clock to rescue pooches, such as bullmastiffs and St Bernards, from as far away as Scotland.
Jo, 57, said: “We have two problems at the moment. One is the cost of living crisis and the other is the fact that because our dogs are much bigger the costs for s take care of them are much higher.
“We also have hundreds of Covid dogs that people bought during lockdown and didn’t socialise.
“These owners didn’t do any training with them and now that they’re getting older, these dogs are a bit picky.
“Almost every dog we get has a history of being bitten because they just haven’t been exposed to life.
“We are getting more and more requests to foster these dogs, but we just can’t accept any more. All of our foster families are full and all of our kennels are full.
“It’s just madness right now.”
The charity’s volunteers feel the dog owners are almost blackmailing them into taking their pets.
Jo continued: “People seem to go out and buy the biggest dog they can, without doing any research on it.
“When they start to see that the dog has guard manners or things like that, they message us and say we can take him urgently and if we don’t they threaten to take him. fall asleep.
“We’ve never seen anything like this before.”
The Royal Veterinary College states that no veterinary surgeon is obliged to kill a healthy animal unless required to do so under statutory powers as part of their terms of employment.
It’s rare for a vet to euthanize a dog for no reason, however, Jo is concerned that some owners may lie to vets about a dog’s bite history, which means the dog could be put down.
She said: “Right now we’re probably looking after 15 rescues – but we have a huge waiting list.
“We’re asked to take in around 10-15 dogs a day and we just can’t do it.
“The charity needs to be selective with the dogs we take in, we need to know that we can place them in good homes that have great experience with dogs.”
The Large Breed Dog Rescue has a strict no destruction policy and never puts a dog down unless advised by a veterinarian due to poor health.
The charity runs solely on donations, however, this year alone £11,000 had to be spent on just two dogs.
Jo and the team held their biggest fundraiser last Saturday and only raised £2,200, far less than expected.
To learn more about the association, click here.
She added: “We can’t magically create spaces, it’s just a never-ending story. I don’t know what the answer is.
“Maybe some of the larger dog charities need to expand and be able to accommodate more dogs.”