An animal welfare advocate is pleading with the public to rethink decisions to adopt a pet during lockdowns as dogs are being abandoned at an alarming rate.
Tay Ljiljak of Best Friends For Ever Rescue Illawarra, based in south Sydney, said that over the past year the non-profit organization has seen an increase in the number of people abandoning animals – mainly because from the COVID pandemic one way or another – and now have a waiting list of dogs to give up.
“People have adopted dogs from the pound…and now they don’t want to keep them,” she said. “[Others are] of people who have lost their jobs or cannot afford a dog due to lockdown and loss of income.”
Miss Ljiljak has been with the BFF rescue agency since 2018 and said she had never before seen people trying to ‘return’ adopted dogs (except in dire circumstances) before the initial lockdown ended in 2020 .
Anxiety and behavioral issues had become a significant problem, she said, with the dogs’ daily routines upended after having a family member at home all the time to now spend eight or more hours a day. day alone.
Rather than working with the animal and training it, the owners instead opted to get rid of their pet.
“A lot of them are breeds that are known to need activity and something to help them get bored when they’re alone,” Miss Ljiljak said. “We have a lot of people in the area who want to give up kelpies, working dogs and employees.”
She advised people considering adopting a pet to research the breed of dog they want and their needs, and whether they would be able to meet those needs, especially once the lockdown is over.
Miss Ljiljak also said the BFF service was desperate for foster families to look after the long line of abandoned dogs, but was calling in people who could look after large, active dogs.
“We are overwhelmed with many offers to foster small dogs,” she said. “The biggest problem with these big dogs is that they don’t have the opportunity to show that they are good dogs…and we will be there every step of the way to support them.”