Dogs Trust Ireland has issued an urgent appeal for foster homes following a major surge in animal surrender requests post-Christmas.
The dog welfare charity said it received 297 surrender requests from Christmas Day to the end of January, from members of the public seeking to relinquish their dogs into the charity’s care.
This is a 73 per cent increase in the number of requests received during the same time period last year, and equates to eight requests per day.
“While many of the people who contact us do so because of extenuating circumstances, sadly many are telling us they underestimated the commitment dog ownership involves,” said Ciara Byrne, head of communications at Dogs Trust.
“We are also continuing to see victims of unscrupulous breeders and families being ‘dog fished’ as misleading and often illegal online advertisements continue.
“Dogs are often advertised as being ‘hypoallergenic’ but as the causes of individual’s allergies can vary, no dog can be said to be 100 per cent hypoallergenic, even if the breed or crossbreed doesn’t shed very much or the dog doesn’t have much or any hair.”
Dogs Trust said one such case is Maggie, a five-month-old Spaniel puppy who was incorrectly advertised as a hypoallergenic Poodle cross. Her family thought she would be the perfect pet, but their allergies flared up and as a result, Maggie was surrendered to Dogs Trust.
She is a very nervous dog, Dogs Trust said, another indicator of poor breeding and the environment she was born into.
Due to how fearful she was upon arrival, the charity sought a foster home for Maggie where she is being cared for and the family hope to adopt her.
Kate Horgan, fostering coordinator at Dogs Trust, said the charity is now urgently appealing for foster homes across the country.
“Fostering not only provides invaluable experience in caring for a dog but it plays a fundamental role in helping the most vulnerable dogs get back on their paws and gives them a better chance of finding their forever home, an incredibly rewarding experience for any dog lover.
“If you are over 18, have access to dog friendly transport for vet visits and meeting potential adopters, a secure garden and time to temporarily care for a dog in need, we would love to hear from you.”
For more information about fostering a dog from Dogs Trust, please visit DogsTrust.ie/Fostering.