The Dogs Trust has launched an urgent coronavirus fundraising appeal, as it anticipates more dogs being abandoned at a time when its income is falling substantially.
The charity has warned that there could be up to 40,000 more stray or abandoned dogs because of the coronavirus crisis.
At the same time, the trust’s income is also being hit. A spokesperson said the charity is expecting a reduction in income of £20-30m, since many of its usual fundraising activities and income streams have been interrupted.
In 2018, the Dogs Trust had an income of £111m, some £100m of which came from donations and legacies, and £7m from trading activities.
The trust has only reopened six of its 41 charity shops. It also furloughed about 30% of its staff during lockdown.
During lockdown, Google searches for “buy a puppy” increased by 166%, which suggests that the number of people who were considering getting a dog was on the rise.
However, Dogs Trust now expects that the economic crisis will result in an increase in dog abandonments. In 2009, after the 2008 economic crash, the number of stray and abandoned dogs increased by 25.6%, the charity has said, and euthanasia rates were also up by a quarter.
‘Dogs Trust is being hit hard by this crisis’
Owen Sharp, chief executive of Dogs Trust, said: “The sad reality is that in times of financial hardship, many people struggle to cope with looking after their pets and the number of abandoned dogs has gone up. We saw this in 2008, and we’re extremely concerned that history could repeat itself in the coming months.
“We’ve already taken a number of dogs in from owners who have sadly passed away from or been hospitalised with Covid-19. We’re doing everything we can to minimise the impact of this crisis on dog welfare, and would urge anyone needing to give up their dog to please turn to us first, and we’ll do everything we possibly can to help you and your dog.
“But we know the worst is yet to come and, like all charities, Dogs Trust is being hit hard by this crisis. We’re very grateful for the donations we have received and for this continued support.
“This will help us be there for as many dogs as possible and navigate the months and years ahead.”