06:00PM, Wednesday 04 April 2018
Unwanted animals at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home are struggling to find new homes due to a rising number of people shopping for pets on the internet.
The charity says it rehomed 511 cats from its Old Windsor centre in 2017, a 17 per cent drop from the previous year.
It also saw a drop in dog rehoming, with 574 canines finding new owners in 2017, a five per cent fall from 2016.
Battersea’s deputy chief executive Peter Laurie said that animal rescue centres are being left to ‘pick up the pieces’ from people buying pets on the internet without enough knowledge of their background.
He said: “You can buy a pet with the click of a mouse, often with no idea if you’re going to get the same animal as the cute photograph that caught your eye and with no real idea of its background or personality.
“In the first three months of this year alone, we’ve taken in more than 100 dogs bought online, whose owners can no longer care for them, often due to veterinary problems or behavioural issues they didn’t know they had.”
Research by analytics company Hindesight has revealed that a new dog advert is created online every two minutes, while a cat advert is created every four minutes.
This has left Battersea having to compete with poorly regulated websites and social media, the charity added.
Peter said: “At Battersea, we’ll spend as long as it takes to get to know our animals so we can give their new owners a realistic and full picture of their new pet.
“You’ll go home with a new best friend and the comfort of knowing it’s the right fit for your family.”
The charity launched a new awareness campaign this week which aims to show the unconditional love and care given to each dog and cat which comes through its doors.
Visit www.battersea.org.uk for more details.
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