The easing of Covid-19 restrictions has led to the closure of two animal shelters who are struggling with all types of breeds - including 'designer' dogs -now being surrendered as people return to work.
Deel Animal Rescue in Co. Limerick and Coolronan Animal Rescue in Co. Meath have both had to temporarily shut their doors as they cannot cope with the level of surrenders since the reopening of the country.
Some of these surrenders include 'designer' breeds such as Giant Schnauzer Dogs, Cockapoos and Bichon Frises which were in huge demand during lockdown as people started paying thousands to breeders.
These breeds would never normally be seen at shelters in pre-Covid times, according to rescue workers who have taken in dogs which would have originally cost almost €2000
However, the rescues say now, families who are back to the 'rat race' and face time constraints no longer want the added responsibilities of dogs and are calling on rescues nationwide to surrender.
Surrendered greyhounds are also a huge financial drain and make up almost half of dogs surrendered to rescues, according to Martina Quinn of Deel Animal Rescue.
The rescue has had to close its doors until they can rehouse the 30 dogs and 40 cats - double their limits- that are under her roof.
They also have to face veterinary and kennel fees of up to €100,000 which is fundraised apart from a €3,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture.
Onslaught of animals
“We have to close temporarily. The last few weeks have been a constant onslaught of dogs and cats with nowhere to go,” she said.
“To paint the picture more clearly, the majority of dogs for instance are being given away by their owners. Many of the dogs in our care have come from the pounds where they were surrendered by their families.
“Many others were direct surrenders by their humans to us. One in our care is waiting on a life-saving procedure, but the majority are waiting on routine stuff like microchipping, neutering, treatment for parasites - all of which add up at the vets.
She said they currently have almost 20 dogs in private boarding kennels which adds up to €1400 for just one week, and they have 40 cats in foster homes and "vet bills are already tipping €15,000.”
Ms Quinn added “Unfortunately greyhounds consistently make up huge numbers at rescues too and are a huge financial drain on the resources of rescues.”
Their voluntary staff of three cannot cope with the surge and are always on the phone trying to arrange the logistics of pick-ups and drops off as well as liaising with international rescues for possible homes.
“It's no longer lurchers and grey hounds being surrendered, but we have received a Giant Schnauzer, cocapoos and other breeds which were all the rage in lockdown. We would never usually see those breeds
“In the last few weeks we have been threatened, abused, roared at over the phone and sent nasty emails. We have been told by owners to take the dogs, or they will put them to sleep for no reason."
She said they are tired of the excuses to get rid of family pets, and are sympathetic to the genuine people who are so broken at having to part from their best friend.