People Are Disguising Unwanted Lockdown Dogs As Strays

by : Poppy Bilderbeck on : 23 Oct 2021 14:27
People Are Disguising Unwanted Lockdown Dogs As StraysAlamy

A charity has warned against the rising trend of people trying to sell the dogs they bought in lockdown on Gumtree, before then trying to trick rescue centres into taking them in by disguising them as strays. 

It is reported that UK households bought over 3.2 million pets during the coronavirus lockdown, with Hope Rescue centre stating that the number of dogs it has seen dropped off is at the highest number in 15 years.


Despite the lockdowns being lifted, the charity, located in Pontyclun, in Rhondda Cynon Taf, expects the issue to continue over the next two years.

Pet Owners Disguise Lockdown Dogs As Strays - AlamyAlamy

The charity has even seen dogs being advertised on Gumtree, and when that hasn’t worked, owners have resorted to claiming they found them abandoned so that the shelter will take them in, BBC News reports.

An advert asking for £500 for a one-year-old English sheepdog crossed with a golden retriever, named Maggie, was seen by the charity once they had taken her in, after she was dropped off as a ‘stray’.


Head of welfare at Hope Rescue Centre, Sara Rosser, stated:

We have to take stray dogs and so fake strays are jumping the queue ahead of dogs that really are abandoned.

It is definitely unprecedented numbers at the moment.

Rosser fears that the number of fake strays could be ‘much higher’ than predicted, after five came into the centre in the last week alone.


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The shelter is now home to more strays than it has ever had before, amassing 150 pets. Subsequent concern has been sparked over shelters being too full and reaching ‘crisis point’.

‘The rescues are full and then the vets are ringing us saying ‘is there any chance you can take them because we’re concerned that dog is going to be put to sleep’,’ Rosser said.

She noted the ‘massive pressure’ which the rescue centres are under, due to people having bought pets in lockdown, but realising they cannot look after them properly, now life has returned to near-normal.


The lockdown dogs which have been dropped off at the shelters are also proving harder to rehome, with many having health or behavioural issues. Lots of them don’t have any background information on such issues either, which makes adoption even trickier.

In 2021, over 7,000 applications were sent to Hope Rescue to inquire about dog adoption, however, the immense number overwhelmed the centre and so it had to suspend applications.

Enterprise development manager at Hope Rescue, Meg Williams, predicts the issue will continue ‘for two to three years, maybe even longer’ as ‘not everyone is choosing the right dog for their household’.

If you see an animal in distress and/or in need of help, contact the RSPCA’s 24-hour animal cruelty line on 0300 1234 999 or visit their website for further advice

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Topics: News, COVID-19, Dogs, lockdown, Now


BBC and 1 other
  1. BBC

    Covid: Dogs bought in lockdown being abandoned

  2. BBC

    Households 'buy 3.2 million pets in lockdown'