Oak Tree Animals’ Charity warns that the cost of living and effects of lockdown are leading to an animal welfare crisis

Oak Tree Animals’ Charity warns that the cost of living and effects of lockdown are leading to an animal welfare crisis. 

Oak Tree Animals’ Charity in Wetheral is seeing significant increases in animal relinquishment in 2022 with huge increases in the numbers of much-loved animals being given up for financial reasons and dog behaviour issues.

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Oak Tree has seen the number of dogs being relinquished due to behavioural reasons double in 2022. Between January and July in 2021: 15.5% of dogs relinquished to Oak Tree came in due to behavioural reasons. This has risen to more than double with 32% in the same period in 2022. These behaviours include reactivity, barking and lunging and other effects of under socialisation, often with links to the pandemic lockdown periods where owners were unable to get out and about with their pets.

Likewise, in the same period, relinquishments due to financial hardship have increased by 500% where people can no longer afford to keep their pets due to the rising cost of living.

Oak Tree fears this is the start of an animal welfare crisis caused by a rise in pet ownership rates colliding with cost-of-living pressures. The charity is seeing an increase in animals coming into its care as rehoming slows down and more people are looking to give up their pets. This trend is also being reflected across the country as animal charities are becoming overburdened and are struggling with the number of owners needing help and a lack of available funds. 

Caroline Johnson, General Manager at Oak Tree explains “At Oak Tree we are currently seeing what seems to be the start of a ‘perfect storm’. The combination of the rising cost of living with the increased number of animals obtained during lockdown seems to be leading to a huge demand for our help and a reduction in the number of people looking to take on a new pet at this time. Charities are also seeing increasing costs with fuel bills, veterinary care and other supplies increasing steeply causing significant financial challenges.”

Caroline continued, “Our experienced and dedicated Oak Tree team are working tirelessly to help those in need by offering practical support, dog training, providing emergency food, temporary fostering, rehoming options, signposting, and many other support options.”

“We are so thankful to our supporters who continue to donate to us during this period of financial hardship when we are all struggling to make ends meet, your help enables us to reach the ever-increasing number of animals and owners who urgently need our help.”

For more information about Oak Tree, its work and how you can donate, get support or help please visit www.oaktreeanimals.org.uk

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