Hope salvation Wales has 154 dogs in its care – the highest number it has ever had. Founder Vanessa Waddon said the Llanharan center had seen an influx in recent weeks, blaming the increase in people buying puppies during the lockdown.
The center is full and has had to turn dogs away unless they can find foster care, which Ms. Waddon describes as heartbreaking.
And she fears the effects of the surge in puppy demand during the pandemic could last for years.
Ms. Waddon told Express.co.uk, â€œWe know this is not a short term thing. We are there for the long term. This was predicted.
â€œThe number of dogs bought during the pandemic. The more dogs owned in the UK, the more dogs will be rescued.
“We had to turn away dogs that we should take with us. It breaks our hearts.”
Ms. Waddon said many dogs have had behavioral or health problems since the pandemic.
She said, â€œThis was caused by the fact that the huge demand for dogs during the lockdown was largely met by low welfare breeders.
“Low welfare breeders would not care if it is the right breed or the right puppy for this family.
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Ms. Waddon added that this puts further strain on the charity as dogs have to stay with them longer, which means no rooms are vacated.
She said, â€œThe dogs that come in stay longer because they have health problems, because they have behavior problems.
â€œIt’s not about them walking in and finding a home quickly, they need extra support, they need to work as a veterinarian, they may need to make some behavioral plans.
“That makes it even more difficult because these dogs don’t go out anytime soon.”
The charity has a waiting list for owners who want to drop off their dogs.
However, there are more and more people who pretend their pets are stray animals, so they are accepted immediately.
Ms. Waddon said: â€œWe are also seeing a phenomenon of so-called strays at the moment.
“We have a lot of people on our waiting list. Responsible owners who did the right thing have called for a rescue and they are on our waiting list for their dog.”
â€œBut there are some people who want their dog to come in now. So we find that we have quite a few dogs that the owners pretend to be strays.
â€œThey either call the handler or they call us and say they found a dog. Or they deliberately let it down.
“These people all they do is jump the line of people who have done the right thing, have reached out and wait patiently.”
Hope Rescue was founded in 2005 and rescues stray and abandoned dogs in South Wales.