Dog welfare campaign launched as research shows two in five dog owners have given one up

New research reveals that more than two in five Brits have given up dogs before, with one in 25 abandoned as strays.

Reality star and animal activist, Pete Wicks, is leading a campaign to call for people to be more responsible when making the choice to get a dog, especially those buying one for Christmas.  

Looking into how people give up dogs, the research conducted by Gala Bingo in association with Thornberry Animal Sanctuary, found that half of dog owners gave them to a new home for free, while 15% sold their pet for profit.

Over a third of owners said they gave their dog to sanctuaries, whilst a significant minority (4%) abandoned them as strays.

Newly appointed RSPCA ambassador, Pete Wicks, commented: “I am very passionate about animal welfare, and do all I can to help improve the lives of vulnerable animals across the country. I’m delighted to be supporting this campaign with Gala Bingo, which will be helping to raise vital funds for Thornberry, a local animal sanctuary doing fantastic work in the north.

“It’s important to not only support the larger, well established charities, but also the smaller sanctuaries which carry the same message, however often go under the radar. The fact that so many dogs have to be given away shows that there is an issue in the UK when it comes to people buying pets, they are unable or unwilling to care for. I want to raise awareness of this and show people exactly why they should adopt and not shop, because every animal deserves a second chance.”

Looking into the reasons why Brits gave up their dogs, a third of people who’ve been unable to keep their canines admitted it was because their lifestyle wasn’t suitable.

Additionally, 11% of people who have given up a dog did so simply because they had underestimated the effort of looking after the pet.

The main reasons Brits have given up dogs were revealed as:

  • My lifestyle wasn’t suited to a dog (34%)
  • The dog had behavioural problems that I couldn’t control (21%)
  • I could no long afford the upkeep (18%)
  • I could no longer have a dog in my house – e.g landlord didn’t allow pets (14%)
  • I was moving away and couldn’t take the dog (14%)
  • I had underestimated the effort of owning a dog (11%)
  • The dog was a gift and I was unable to look after it (8%).

Based in Yorkshire, Thornberry Animal Sanctuary has rescued thousands of dogs, cats, rabbits and horses over the last 30 years. The registered charity aims to house animals that need care, deal with any medical and behavioural issues, and ultimately match each pet with its forever home.

Ged Jenkins-Omar, Thornberry’s Fundraising & Marketing Manager, said: “We tend to see an increase in dogs coming into the sanctuary in January, however we also see an increase a few months later when people realise how difficult and time consuming their new pet can be.

“Our policy is non-judgemental and we never shame people who bring in their animals to the sanctuary – after all, if you can’t look after your pet for whatever reason, the most responsible thing is to bring it to a place where it can get the care it deserves whilst we find them a more suitable home.”

To raise awareness for responsible dog ownership and to encourage people to adopt from shelters, Gala Bingo is hosting a festive livestream at Thornberry Animal Sanctuary hosted by Pete Wicks, who will be playing games with the dogs to raise money for the charity, as well as give out great prizes.

To watch, you can tune into the livestream on Gala Bingo’s Facebook page on Friday 13th December at 12pm. Additionally, Gala Bingo will donate £1 to the charity for each share of the post.

Karina Adrian, Head of Brand Marketing at Gala Bingo, said: “We’re so pleased to work with Pete and Thornberry Animal Sanctuary to bring awareness to this vital cause. It’s so important that people make sure they can give a dog the life it deserves before they commit.

“Dogs can be such great companions to people of all ages and backgrounds. They deserve happy and healthy lives, and they make our lives happy and healthier too! They really are man’s best friend, that’s why we want to raise as much money as possible for the sanctuary which does a fantastic job looking after them.”