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Excessive baggage? Battersea sees huge increase in abandoned dogs as owners jet off on holiday

People tend to think Christmas is the busiest time for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, however Battersea has seen a 204 per cent increase this year in the number of intake calls during the first week of the school summer holidays compared with a normal week in May.

With the school summer holidays in full swing and UK airports experiencing their busiest time of the year, the world famous rescue centre has seen a surge in the number of abandoned pets as owners head to sunnier climes.

Battersea’s dog and cat intake line received 328 calls during the first week of the summer holidays, and 388 in the second week compared with just 108 during a week in May – showing a surge as schools close, and suitcases are packed.

The charity believes there is a link between the rise in calls and people going on holiday and not having anyone to look after their dog or being able to afford boarding kennels.

One-year-old German Spitz Hayes was brought to Battersea by his owners who were going on holiday and had no one to take care of him. They said they had already sacrificed a holiday the previous year and didn’t want to do the same again.

Woody Woodford-Price, Battersea’s Intake Coordinator, said: “Every year around this time I anticipate a rise in the number of calls from people wanting Battersea to take in their pet.

“It’s holiday season and people don’t always take pets into account when they’re booking to go away. So it’s rescue centres, like Battersea, who end up taking their pets in and finding new homes for them.
“We’ve had people confuse us with boarding kennels, asking if we can take their pet for a fortnight while they go away and others that blatantly bring in a ‘stray’ dog and send someone else to claim it back a week later.

“Dogs brought in under such false pretences are potentially taking the space that another genuinely needy dog might otherwise have occupied.”

Battersea urges prospective dog and cat owners to think about the responsibility and commitment pets bring with them. Pets aren’t disposable, so if you are planning a holiday make sure to plan for your pet too, with either boarding kennels or a pet sitter.

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