Puppies bought in lockdown who are now unwanted by their owners are being resold online to new homes.
Concerns are mounting as people treat ‘Lockdown Puppies’ as temporary pets, skipping health checks and house visits in favour of making their money back quickly.
Dogs Trust, which has a large rehoming centre in Merseyside, has warned that we have not yet seen the worst of reselling dogs.
Many took the opportunity to welcome a new furry family member during the several UK lockdowns seen in 2020, but the reality is often not as idyllic as first thought.
With restrictions in place for much of the past year new dogs have not been able to socialise in close quarters with other dogs.
This has left many in tricky situations with dogs who are reactive to new situations outside of their homes.
Kate, from Wiltshire, who runs Dotty4Paws, a directory for dogs has spoken of her experiences after getting a new puppy, Gertie, in February last year.
She said: “She had her last vaccination on 27th March, so by the time she could go out and socialise we were in lockdown.
“Advice at the time was to keep your dog on lead and not to let other people touch your dog.
“This has lead to Gertie being very reactive on the lead and very nervous of meeting new people…there is no substitute for actually letting your puppy interact face to face.”
Dogs Trust chief executive, Owen Sharp spoke of the concerns of puppy reselling, saying: “Demand for dogs has been at an all-time high during the pandemic and we have seen huge increases in puppy prices as sellers capitalise on the demand.
“At the start of January this year, there were over 1,000 adverts for dogs on three of the largest classified websites. This was a 59% increase compared to the same period in 2020.”
But he believes that we are yet to see the worst and that these numbers don’t reflect the peak of dogs being sold.
“In the last six months, we have seen a 41% increase in web traffic to its ‘giving up your dog’ page, indicating that more people are considering making the heart-breaking decision to part with their pet” said Owen.
On second hand selling websites such as Gumtree it is easy to do a quick search for young new puppies.
But within the sellers who are offering young puppies there are many adverts for older puppies who are no longer wanted.
The ‘All Dogs Matter’ charity wrote in a blog post: “Getting a dog can be a 15 year+ commitment that requires significant thought and planning and shouldn’t be considered as a lockdown hobby.
“Prices for puppies in lockdown have skyrocketed which is fuelling the cruel puppy mill trade, with unscrupulous breeders selling desirable breeds for up to three times their prices before lockdown with no regard for their welfare.”
Dogs Trust research has shown that the prices of dogs such as a French bulldog have gone up by 90% in the last year from £683.58 in March 2020 to £1297.81 in December 2020.
So it comes as no surprise that when someone gets a dog who has struggled with training in lockdown a person considering getting rid of the dog would want some of their money back.
Carri Westgarth from Merseyside Dog Safety Partnership said: “In my opinion this is not a good time to be getting a dog.
“Socialisation is not currently available and this is having detrimental effects on puppies being brought up during the pandemic, leading to behavioural problems.”
For information on how to help your dogs who have missed out on socialisation you can visit the Vets4Pets site.
Dogs Trust Merseyside have urged people to hand in their unwanted dogs to them rather that reselling to ensure the health and happiness of the dog.