29 March 2023

Wagga animal shelter pounded by post-COVID neglect

| Jarryd Rowley
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Dog with its tongue out

Guy is one of many dogs at the Glenfield Road Animal Shelter looking for a new home. Photo: Supplied.

Animal shelters around the country have recorded an increase in the number of pets being ditched at their doors following a surge of adoptions during COVID-19 lockdowns.

The Glenfield Road Animal Shelter has expressed its concerns about the continuing increase of animals being dumped and wants to encourage people who are looking to adopt pets to look at rescuing pets before adopting.

Glenfield Road Animal Shelter volunteer Leanne Rea said potential pet owners needed to be aware of the commitment that came with looking after animals as they required a lot of time and commitment.

“Too many pets are being left at animal shelters because families didn’t realise how much time and effort it took to look after them,” Mrs Rea said.

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“Since restrictions lifting and people going back to work, there has been a noticeable increase and it has been quite upsetting to see.”

The RSPCA recently reported that over 27,000 animals were in animal shelters across the country.

The increase in the number of animals being surrendered to pounds has led to the RSPCA and animal shelters asking for potential sponsors.

“People can help in other ways apart from just adoption or rescuing animals,” Mrs Rea said.

“If people are able to donate a few dollars to local shelters, it helps them to look after animals that have been unfortunately surrendered.”

Donations to local shelters will enable them to provide adequate equipment and treatment such as beds, medicine, microchips and litter.

Cat under blanket

Many cats and dogs were left stranded after COVID-19 restrictions ended as more and more people returned to work and didn’t have the time to look after pets. Photo: Supplied.

Pounds like the Glenfield Road Animal Shelter can hold animals for up to 14 days if microchipped (once animals have been quarantined), while animals that aren’t are only kept for a week.

“Once that period is up, we look to other shelters and locations, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, and see where they can be taken next,” Mrs Rea said.

“We try our best to make sure they are adopted or returned to their owners as soon as possible but sometimes it’s just not possible.”

The Glenfield Road Animal Shelter is also looking for people to pledge money to animals in their care to help families afford the cost of adoption. The pledge will help dogs and cats find new homes while also providing a reduced cost for families looking to adopt.

Families who are planning to rescue animals are being encouraged to trial having a pet in their home for at least three months before making a decision on whether to adopt.

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According to a vast number of shelters it can take dogs three days to decompress after arriving at a new home; from there it can take three weeks to learn routines and understand their environment and another three months before they feel as if they are safe and settled in their new homes.

“The 3-3-3 is something that is becoming more and more common,” Mrs Rea said.

“Families looking to rescue and adopt really need to consider and understand the challenges that come with owning a pet.

“Please research breeds to make sure they are suitable for your living arrangements, prepare your home in advance and come down for a meet and greet.”

Mrs Rea is also an admin for the Facebook page Who let the dogs out – Wagga Poundies, a page which helps dogs at the Glenfield Road Animal Shelter find homes.

To learn more about Glenfield Road Animal Shelter or to pledge money to an animal in care visit here.

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