Dog shelters full
Dog shelters full

NSW dog shelters hounded by post-COVID surrenders

Pet shelters across NSW are at crisis point with no room to take in more animals as dogs and cats continue to be dumped following a pandemic adoption boom.

The number of dogs being abandoned post-lockdown has surged to "gut-wrenching" levels, animal charities said, as owners found they no longer had the time or money to look after the animals long term.

RSPCA shelters are at 95 per cent capacity for dogs and 125 per cent capacity for cats.

Rescuee Hub founder Elaine Burn (left) with Staffy cross Willard who is up for adoption, and volunteer Liz Wiki with Staffy cross Elina. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Rescuee Hub founder Elaine Burn (left) with Staffy cross Willard who is up for adoption, and volunteer Liz Wiki with Staffy cross Elina. Picture: Jonathan Ng

"Every day we receive animals through our Inspectorate, surrenders and animal ambulances," a spokeswoman said.

Western Sydney dog shelter Rescue Hub last week announced it was closing its doors to new animals following an influx of surrendered pets.

Co-founder Elaine Burn had to make the heart-breaking decision because of the financial pressures of veterinary care and the other expenses of keeping a pound.

"With a very heavy heart we have had to make one of the hardest decisions ever - we have to close our doors to helping any more doggies until we can get ahead of things financially as our funds are getting dangerously low," she said. "Seeing the kill lists, and seeing so many dogs that are Rescue Only in the pounds, and constantly being contacted privately by people surrendering their dogs to us, is heartbreaking and gut-wrenching, and we are devastated we can't continue to help."

\Volunteer Stacie Endean with Willard. Picture: Jonathan Ng
\Volunteer Stacie Endean with Willard. Picture: Jonathan Ng

An urgent fundraiser has been launched by the charity to help them cover the costs of ongoing care for their seven kennels.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, there was a 30 per cent increase in pet adoptions at RSPCA shelters. But since December, 64 pets have been surrendered.

Sydney vet Kersti Seksel said there was an increase in surrenders worldwide.

"A few months ago we couldn't get animals from shelters because everyone wanted one. Now the reality of pet ownership has settled in for some people," she said.

"We've got to be cognisant animals are living creatures with feelings and emotions. They bond to you and you bond to them."

Originally published as NSW dog shelters hounded by post-COVID surrenders


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