Almost €30,000 worth of 'Covid' dogs have been surrendered to a Meath animal rescue service in the last six months because of behavioural issues.
Coolronan Animal Rescue in Ballivor has had to close its doors until it deals with the issues of 36 dogs who are aggressive because they say they were never socialised properly.
Rescue owners say that they are tired of hearing paltry excuses from surrendering owners blaming the dogs because of their own mistakes.
"Easily in the last six months, we have taken in almost €30,000 worth of dogs which people paid big money for and then got rid of after five months," said owner Chris Kelly
"We had to take the decision to close until we can sort these issues out, so they can be rehomed. In one day, we had to refuse to take in eleven dogs - which was devastating for us to do because we don't know now where those dogs will end up.
"I took in a Springer Spaniel recently, and they are normally the most happy-go-lucky breed, but this one tried to bite me twice when I took him. In my 17 years of rescuing dogs, I've never come across such an aggressive springer
"We have cockapoos worth €1,300 each and other dogs that were bought for €1,850, and now they are not wanted.
"I've always said it. During Covid, parents who spent most of the day working away were suddenly working from home and hadn't a clue what to do with the kids, so they bought them a dog as a babysitter.
"The dog didn't meet any other dogs or socialise with others during the lockdowns so developed behavioural issues
"The kids got bored of it, often after pulling and dragging out of it, and the parents went back to work and all of a sudden, the dog was left for hours on its own.
"The parents come home to a house which the dog has made bits of and all of a sudden, it's the dog that gets the blame and gets gate.
"You need a licence for a dog, but you should need a licence for the owner.
"The excuses we are hearing from owners surrendering dogs are nothing but shameful. The owners will stand there and blatantly lie to our face about how awful the dog was.
"Seventeen years on and the situation of getting rid of dogs is getting worse, not better.
"As well as the 36 dogs, we have 16 pups all with heat lamps. We have prepaid electricity which has trebled from about €3 to €9 a day because of energy hikes, but it is what it is.
"Most rescues are broke and like us, rely on donations, but we carry on because we care
"I probably shouldn't say this, but maybe there are too many rescues and pounds because it makes it too easy for owners to just get rid of the dogs."