This is how many rescue dogs found their forever homes in South Yorkshire during lockdown

Almost 300 rescue dogs found their forever homes during the lockdown last year in South Yorkshire.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 4:03 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 4:03 pm
Bailey is a lovely older gent who enjoys nothing more than a fuss and a belly rub and he is currently in the care of the Doncaster, Rotherham and District branch of the RSPCA. The 10 year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier had a bad skin condition when he came into RSPCA care but this is being managed with special baths, which would need to be continued. He would enjoy a home with children aged 8+ where he can relax on the sofa. He would need to be an only dog, but may be able to walk with other dogs, dependent upon a successful introduction. He is young at heart and very eager to find a loving home.

But an animal charity has warned the success may be short-lived as more people return to work.

According to the RSPCA, dog rehoming rose as a result of the pandemic, as families spent more time at home and home-workers sought the company of a four-legged companion.

In total, 4,877 dogs were rehomed in 2020, with 291 dogs rehomed in South Yorkshire.

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RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: "At the start of lockdown, we were concerned about how difficult it might be to rehome animals, especially since we had to pause all rehoming for several weeks until we were able to come up with a new rehoming model that adhered to the Government's guidelines.

"We were astounded by the degree of interest we received in our animals, particularly our dogs, once we received authorisation from Defra to re-launch rehoming.

"We witnessed a surge in interest in rehoming dogs from families who were spending more time at home and desired the company of a pet.

"We had 68 per cent more visits to our Find A Pet area of our website between March 23 - the first day of lockdown - and December 31 than the previous year, and views of our'rehoming a dog' material increased by 87 percent.

"Hundreds of applications for individual dogs were received by many of our centres, and some dogs were adopted before they were even listed online."

The charity said it devised virtual rehoming to continue rehoming animals while complying with the Government's social distancing rules and non-essential travel ban.

Officers set up video chats and meet-and-greets to match the right people with the right homes, and people were encouraged to apply for dogs online.

Some animals sadly ‘ignored’ due to their background

Dr Gaines added: "While the majority of our animals were immediately adopted, there were those who were regrettably ignored time and time again due to their colour, breed, age or background.

"We want to attempt to find homes for all of the great dogs who are still with us this Adoptober."

‘Adoptober’ is RSPCA’s rehoming drive for rescue dogs this October where they encourage people to adopt instead of shop.

Dr Gaines added: “Our advice to anyone thinking of getting a dog is to do lots of research first to ensure that you can meet the needs of a dog.

"They are a huge commitment and responsibility, but they’re also a wonderful addition to the family and are sure to bring you lots of joy and happiness.

“Sadly we are expecting to see more dogs coming into our care over the following months as people who are beginning to return to work find their dogs may struggle to cope at home alone, or because families cannot cope with behavioural problems or the costs of getting ‘lockdown puppies’ who are now struggling to adapt to adolescent and adult life.

“Anyone who needs help with their pet should speak to their vet, a clinical animal behaviourist or head to our website for advice.”

For more information about Adoptober, visit www.rspca.org.uk/Adoptober and to see all the animals they have available for rehoming visit www.rspca.org.uk/findapet.