News Rescue Centres Face Perfect Storm In 2022



Rescue centres face ‘perfect storm’ in 2022
7th January 2022

By David Rees

Many dog rescue centres are reaching crisis point as a result of the pandemic and lockdowns.

A study of more than 500 UK dog rehoming centres has revealed that factors such as reduced funding, dwindling donations and fewer volunteers - combined with a sharp increase in dogs being abandoned and more dogs suffering from lockdown-related behavioural problems - means that over a quarter of rescue facilities now face having to turn dogs away due to lack of space.

The research, conducted by UK dog adoption platform on behalf of Direct Line Pet Insurance, found that 27% of rescue centres are running out of space, with rescues in Wales and the South West the worst affected.

Over a third (36%) of rescues say the Covid-19 pandemic has had a “worse than expected” impact on them. And over half (55%) say they are now in a worse position than they were during the peak of the pandemic in 2020.


More than three quarters (77%) of UK rescue centres say they’ve seen an increase in ‘pandemic pups’ being handed in for rehoming and the same proportion say they’re bracing themselves for things to get worse in 2022 as more people are expected to give up their pets. Three quarters of centres also say that dogs are becoming harder to rehome due to separation anxiety and behavioural issues linked to lockdown.

The research surveyed 512 dog rehoming centres in the UK between 8th July 2020 and 16th July 2020, with a follow up survey between 18th of August 2021 and 23rd September 2021.
Ryan O’Meara, a former professional dog trainer and co-founder of, said: “Many of the rescues we’ve spoken to are saying there’s a pattern at play. People who got a pet during lockdown experienced a change in their circumstances, often due to being furloughed or losing their main source of income, and they had to move as a result.”

Madeline Pike, Veterinary Nurse at Direct Line Pet Insurance, added: “What we’re unfortunately seeing now is a ‘perfect storm’ of factors, including a reduction in donations and volunteers, an increase in people giving up their pets and a very noticeable spike in behavioural issues making dogs more likely to be given up and harder to rehomed.

“Lockdown was a unique situation that caused many people to feel it was the right time to get a dog. Unfortunately, as our routines return to normal, people are realising that they can’t provide the care and attention that their dog deserves.”