Welsh rescue centres filling with unsold puppies as lockdown demand ends

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Breeders have been continuing to produce puppies at the same rate despite there being no demand for them

Dog ownership in Wales made a stark increase during the Covid-19 lockdowns – but is slowing down now many return to work.

However, breeders have been continuing to produce puppies at the same rate despite there being no demand for them.

This puppy pandemic has been felt by rescue centres across Wales, including Friends of Animals Wales, in Ton Pentre, who have been taking in unsold and abandoned dogs in their dozens.

Last week, the rescue centre took in seven Cavachon puppies who were handed over by their breeder.

Owner Eileen Jones, said: “We have had lots of unsold pups in. You’ve got all these puppies that were in the pipeline but people have gone back to work and life is back to some sort of normality and there isn’t the demand there.

“But these pups were already on their way because it’s about 20 weeks from when they’re conceived to when they’re ready to go because they’re sold at around eight to 10 weeks. There are puppies but no market for them.”

Eileen says as soon as a puppy hit around 12 to 14-weeks-old they become less attractive to potential buyers and can develop behavioural issues if not socialised.

At this point, breeders tend to pass the adolescent puppies on to rescues centres like Friends of Animals Wales.

Eileen added: “The other thing is we’ve got the Christmas market coming up so these puppy breeders don’t want to be full up with adolescent puppies they can’t sell and want room for the eight to 10 week old ones.

“It’s a bit of a dumping ground, but one we’re happy to accommodate because we know we’re giving those pups the best possible future.”

Rescue centres often get a surge of overgrown puppies into their care around February – Christmas puppies which failed to sell.

But as Eileen says “never ever this time of the year.”

During lockdown, an estimated 3.2 million pets were bought and puppies were bred quickly to keep up with the demand.

Eileen quotes what one puppy breeder told her, saying: “Everyone’s breeding with everything that has a heartbeat.”

Breeding and stud dogs were used far past when they should have and now they, along with lockdown dogs which didn’t work out, are landing back at rescue centres. Space is running tight.

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