Animal charities are warning of a potential increase in animal cruelty due to the pandemic.
Many people decided to get a new pet in lockdown, with the RSPCA seeing a 600% increase in visits to its puppy fostering pages and the Kennel Club a 180% increase in enquiries. As a result, the UK is now facing a puppy shortage. This has fuelled an increase in dog thefts, animal smuggling, illegal puppy farms and scammers.
Animal charities have also warned that as lockdown lifts and life returns to normal, many animals could be neglected, abandoned or given away, putting an extra strain on shelters and welfare organisations.
But there are things that we can do to help.
Anyone looking to buy a pet should always check that they are buying from a licensed breeder. Unfortunately, Waltham Forest Council doesn’t have an easily accessible list of licensed breeders on their website, unlike some other local councils; however, the list can be obtained by contacting the council on 020 8496 3000.
If you ever witness someone treating an animal badly, take note of the events and contact the RSPCA on their 24-hour cruelty line 0300 1234 999. Try to give them as much information as possible including dates, times, and location. Never risk your own safety; contact the authorities.
What are the Lib Dems doing?
After significant campaigning from Liberal Democrat MPs, the Home Office has agreed to set up a task force to look at the increasing number of dog thefts. Liberal Democrats will continue calling for pet theft to become a specific crime rather than dealt with under the same laws as property theft.