Canberra Pet Rescue struggles to find homes for growing number of abandoned pets


Canberra’s animal rescue charities say they are at breaking point as they battle to rehome a growing number of abandoned animals.

Amanda Doelle from the non-profit Canberra Pet Rescue said the charity had more pets to care for than it could handle.

“It’s very difficult for our team at the moment. We’re at breaking point,” she said.

“The shelters are overflowing, the books are overflowing, our relief groups are overflowing and it really has a big impact.

“We are under so much pressure to take in the next cat, dog or kitten that people can’t take care of it anymore.”

Muscat is one of the kittens that Brian and Amanda are trying to find a home for.(ABC News: Tahlia Roy)

Brian Achanfuo-Yeboah, also from Canberra Pet Rescue, said he believed the pandemic had played a major role in the number of abandoned pets, as most of the abandoned animals were young.

He said people, especially during lockdowns, have adopted pets to keep them company.

“Now they’re going back to work, they’re doing things like going on vacation, and the pressure of the cost of living is increasing,” he said.

“Some of the considerations we need to think about when getting a pet for the first time are starting to show up for some people.

“We’re also seeing the novelty of that puppy or kitten they had during the COVID lockdown is fading, and unfortunately a lot of them are unloading their pets, which is putting a lot of pressure on our organization. “

A brown-haired woman wearing a white shirt stands in front of a sign that reads 'RSPCA'
RSPCA CEO in the ACT Michelle Robertson said financial hardship had increased as a reason for giving up pets.(ABC News: Mark Moore)

RSPCA ACT chief executive Michelle Robertson said her organization has also seen an increase in people giving up pets, mainly due to cost of living pressures.

“We see affordability coming [in a way] that we haven’t seen,” she said.

“It hasn’t been as big of a factor as it is starting to become.”

“The Last Place They See on This Earth”

Ms Doelle said it was very difficult to see the number of domestic animals to cull due to overcrowding.

“It really has an impact on the people who are on the front lines of the problems. [Those] accommodate these pets, the pounds and the shelters that have to euthanize them,” she said.

“It is truly heartbreaking to see so many more being born every day when there are so many needy people in our organization and other rescue groups, pounds and shelters.”

A beige dog with long ears held in the arms of a person.
Amanda and Brian took care of Bonnie the puppy until she could find her forever home.(ABC News: Tahlia Roy)

She offered a message to owners and breeders, encouraging them to reflect on their actions when it comes to their furry friends.

“To irresponsible pet owners and breeders: think about the impact you have on both people and animals,” she said.

“Dropping your pet into an animal shelter isn’t ideal. It’s a cold, scary, stressful place, and it could be the last place they see on this Earth.”

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