Pet Crisis UK

Currently across the UK, animal rescue charities are overwhelmed by the numbers of pets being abandoned. We saw abandonment increase as soon as lockdown ended and people went back to their jobs and social lives. 

The current cost of living crisis has now added to the problem. 

A report published in Vet Times, showed that 3.4 million pets have been abandoned in the UK in the last 12 months

Many people do no research before getting a pet, then the cute, fluffy pup turns into a demanding 30kgs of power and energy. Owners do not have the time, experience or knowledge to deliver the  training and socialisation the dog needs. As a result animal shelters are receiving many large breed dogs. Often they have not had what they need in terms or training from their owners and have developed behaviours as a result. These dogs will be more difficult to re home, often needing experienced, adult homes where they will be the only pet.

As shelters are now full, some owners are abandoning pets tied to trees and in boxes or just letting them loose on the streets.  An unclaimed stray dog can be killed in a council pound after just 7 days if shelters are full.  All of our shelters are full.

Abandoned, tied to a tree, Durham, UK 2022

German Shepherd Elite, based in Essex, a small, breed specific, registered charity in Essex are overwhelmed.

This is what one of their volunteers had to say about the situation they are now facing,

‘ Both the coordinators at German Shepherd Rescue Elite, who have many years experience in Rescue, have never seen anything like what we are facing now. The perfect storm of Panic Pandemic Purchases meant an influx of dogs under 3 years old when life returned to normal and due to Covid restrictions those dogs had no socializing, no boundaries and no training so not only do we need to find a home with German Shepherd experience we then have to add child free as they had never met children, dog free as they had not been socialized and the majority came with added issues such as reactivity, guarding/possessive behaviour and separation anxiety, 18mths on and many of these dogs are still with us, then comes the Cost of Living Crisis.  

With kennels close to full and all foster homes in use the demand for space is in double figures every day, change in circumstance seeming to be the main reason for rehoming like longer working hours, change of job or loss of home/new home won’t accept pets and the daily cost of keeping a dog, then there are the people hearing ‘we are full ‘from every rescue they reach out to so they inevitably resort to dumping the dog, either tied up somewhere or left to roam.  

These dogs are usually picked up by a warden and taken to a Pound and that’s when the clock starts ticking! 7 days is all they have to secure rescue space or be claimed before they are euthanized, yes, in 2022 and in the UK dogs are still euthanized in Pounds EVERY SINGLE DAY because there is no space in rescues.  

The impact of the Pandemic Pups and the cost of living crisis means we now have 80+ dogs in kennels and foster needing a breed experienced home, majority needing child and pet free homes and most with issues and then we have the Malinois, these dogs are not built to be family pets, they are high driven, high energy and high jumpers and they need working homes which are even rarer than the child and pet free homes.  

The other side of the Cost of Living Crisis impacts us directly, people don’t have any disposable income so donations stall, fundraisers raise half the usual amount and monthly direct debits stop, in 2021 the cost of kennels, Food and Vet Care cost us just under £200,000 and we are expecting this to increase substantially in 2022 and 2023 as the price of food has almost doubled and the kennels have seen massive increases in their energy bills as have vet surgeries.  

The only comfort during these uncertain times is we are not the only rescue struggling and sadly so many smaller rescues are closing their doors on a daily basis who, like ourselves, are entirely voluntary run and rely solely on donations.  

So, what is the answer? We don’t know but what we do know is this current situation is unsustainable, the throwaway society we live in, the purchasing of dogs without research, the breeders who continue to churn out litter after litter with no regard as to who they end up with along with the Pandemic aftermath and cost of living crisis is not only killing the dogs that don’t find space it’s killing smaller rescues and leaving those who volunteer feeling hopeless and helpless but while we can, we will continue to do what we do, for free, for the love of the breed and the fact that these dogs never asked to be born in the first place, as humans we must do better !  ‘

German Shepherd Elite, are desperate for people that can adopt or foster, particularly experienced homes. They also need volunteers and of course donations.

If you can help them in anyway at all, please visit their website or contact your local registered charity.


Dogs looking for homes



Aged 2, currently in Essex, England.
He’s looking for an experienced home.



Tilly, currently located in Cheshire, England 

Aged 7, German Shepherd Cross, she’s been in the shelter for 3 years, having come from the pound after having puppies. She could live with older children as the only pet. Please share



Ted, currently in Nottinghamshire, England.

Aged 2, he’s been in the shelter for 16 months. He’s looking for an experienced adult home as the only pet.