Teleworking, lockdown, lack of social contact … all seemingly good reasons to adopt a dog and feel less lonely. But after an adoption boom in Luxembourg during the pandemic, the downside is beginning to show.
In the last six months the municipality of Luxembourg City has registered almost as many new dogs as it normally does in a whole year.
However, the decision to adopt a dog should be considered long-term, and not just as a hobby during the pandemic.
An explosion in demand
The waiting times with legitimate breeders are incredibly long right now. Monique Bach, who has been breeding dogs for 30 years, stated that she gets calls “every day” asking people about dogs “without being aware of the responsibility it represents”. Many feel “lonely” and automatically assume that a pet is the ideal solution to this problem. Most of the time, however, the future owners do not seem to be aware of the fact that they will still need to look after their pet after the pandemic.
People need to educate themselves and make sure they are not talking to people with bad intentions. To avoid this, one can contact the Luxembourg Cynological Federation (FCL), which can pass on the details of the officially recognized breeders.
Dog trainers are also seeing an increase in registrations. Anne Barrere is a certified dog trainer and emphasizes the importance of the capacity of the dog school where she works to stay open during the pandemic. Barrere explains that the school particularly focused on “socialization” so that the dogs learn to interact with other people and other dogs. This ability has often been neglected during the pandemic, she says because of the closure of most of the country’s dog schools.
Stricter selection criteria for owners
German media reports that more and more dogs that were adopted during the pandemic as a kind of “compensation” are being brought back to animal shelters. At the Gasperich animal shelter, the phenomenon has so far been limited, but preparations are still being made for a possible boom.
Since the pandemic, they have noticed that people sometimes have a different attitude and, for example, ask for a dog to “pass the time”. Liliane Ferron, vice president of the National League for Animal Welfare, hopes those who recently adopted a dog have given it some thought. While there is still no wave of returns, Ferron believes “it will get out of hand at some point”.
This is also one of the reasons why animal shelters have become âeven stricterâ when it comes to choosing an owner.
Illegal puppy trade
The high demand has also increased the illegal trade in puppies. VÃ©ronique Jaeger is a veterinarian and warns against the machinations of unscrupulous breeders. Puppies are supposed to be “produced” and transported under appalling conditions.
Dr. Jaeger explains that she has seen a significant increase in puppy adoption. Often times the passport does not come from the country where the dog was adopted and the puppies have diarrhea, malnutrition or walking strangely because they were kept in a cage. âThat just wasn’t the case a year ago,â explains the vet.
Adopting a dog should be a careful decision. You shouldn’t underestimate the time, effort, and cost of caring for an animal. Not only is a dog there to keep you company during the pandemic, it also needs to be cared for afterwards.
The full report in Luxembourgish: