The growing trend for dog ownership over recent months has led to soaring prices for puppies, as increasing numbers of people find themselves with more time to lavish on a dog and in need of companionship as they work from home.
All of this might sound like a positive for animal lovers, but it does come with a downside. Many of these puppies will end up being mistreated or put into shelters.
Already, we’re starting to see the effects of the rise in dog buying over past months. Shelters are reporting that they’re getting more dogs, particularly fashionable flat-faced breeds such as Pugs and French Bulldogs.
The rising popularity of certain breeds of dog, such as flat-faced animals, which were made popular by celebrities and other social media influencers, has led to a rise in these animals being abandoned. During the lockdown, many homeowners, with more time on their hands, might have wanted to get one of these fashionable dogs to keep them company. With little to do and nowhere to go to show off, they will have turned to social media to keep their friends and followers updated.
As such, they will have wanted a photogenic dog, and that’s why many individuals opted for the trendy flat-faced breeds. However, now that the lockdown restrictions are slowly lifting, and more parts of the economy are feeling the squeeze, many new pet owners will be struggling to financially and emotionally support their hastily made puppy purchases, leading to greater abandonment.
Throughout history, breeding animals and creating a strong, award-winning lineage has always been seen as a prestigious endeavour. Despite the cachet that comes with animal breeding, it has also always been considered a messy and time-consuming business.
However, in today’s market, many individuals with limited or no experience of breeding/ raising puppies are exploring dog breeding. The increasing demand for puppies and the rising prices that animal lovers are willing to pay for a new puppy have both led to more breeders setting up businesses. These might be legitimate organisations, or so-called ‘puppy farms’- breeders who put profits before the welfare of their animals.
As more individuals who have found themselves without a job following the pandemic seek to build a business to support themselves, we could find ourselves with even more unwanted puppies in the future, as they turn to puppy breeding. They might view it as a profitable venture, considering the increased demand and cost of puppies during the course of the pandemic.
Thankfully, public opinion seems to be turning against dog breeders and is siding with rescue centres. For example, a recent documentary by the BBC on breeders receiving a furious backlash. The petition against the show’s release achieved tens of thousands of signatures, showing that dog owners and animal lovers are trying to put a stop to the glamourisation of dog breeding and puppy ownership.
Additionally, the UK government is stepping up and trying to stem the flow of puppies onto the market. Early in 2020, the government introduced Lucy’s Law, aimed at regulating the breeding of puppies in the UK. The law means that breeders need to register to sell puppies.
The introduction of this new law will make a small difference, but there’s still a long way to go before dogs stop being fashion accessories and the UK reduces its volume of abandoned dogs in rescue centres.
© 2020 All Rights Reserved Grace Murphy