Written by on 18th June 2021

Animal welfare charities are predicting a huge surge in the number of abandoned and surrendered dogs as lockdown lifts and the full impact of the pandemic is realised. Hope Rescue, a dog rescue centre in Llanharan, is certainly experiencing this. They have received over 90 calls from dog owners looking to hand in their pets in the last 4 weeks alone, including a Mum and her enormous litter of 12 puppies. This is on top of the rescue centre’s stray dog commitments, taking all the unclaimed stray dogs from 6 Local Authorities in South Wales. Hope Rescue provides a place of safety for dogs in need, regardless of age, breed, or medical condition.

Not only has there been a huge increase in dogs handed in compared to last year, but they are also often arriving with severe health issues or behavioural problems as the full impact of Covid19 hits families hard. Changes in working hours as they return to the office, financial worries and housing issues are just some of the reason’s owners are having to give up their pets, many of which were purchased during lockdown.

The rescue centre recently took an emergency call from a vet practice asking for help for a 5-month-old Pug called Penny as the owner was unable to afford the treatment costs. Penny had a deep eye ulcer which was at severe risk of rupturing and needed removing urgently. Brachycephalic (flat-faced) breeds such as Pugs are very prone to eye problems and here has been a lot of press recently advising puppy buyers to avoid brachycephalic breeds due to their health conditions.

Sadly, it was discovered this was not Penny’s only health issue, and a blood sample taken before surgery shows that she has a liver shunt. This results in blood is not being properly detoxed by the liver and a build-up of harmful substances that are carried throughout the body. Adverse effects include stunted growth, abnormal behaviour, and seizures. Penny requires life-saving surgery, or the alternative was to put her to sleep. The treatment costs for her eye removal and treating the liver shunt are around £5,500. Hope Rescue have committed to saving Penny’s life and are raising funds towards the costs

Vanessa Waddon Founder and Transformation Manager at Hope Rescue said “The phones have been ringing off the hook lately with owners no longer able to care for their dogs. The number of strays we have taken in has also doubled in the last couple of weeks and we currently have 108 dogs in our care. This is a telling sign that the post-pandemic predictions made by animal welfare experts are now a reality.

We are pleased that owners are reaching out for help rather than selling their dog on, and would encourage anyone needing help to get in touch with their local rescue centre. But we’re concerned that we will see more dogs like Penny coming into our care and we will struggle to cope with the demand. Our vet bills are now peaking at almost £20,000 every month which is a significant sum for a small charity. Our kennels are also almost full, and we are keen to recruit additional local foster homes who can temporarily open their heart and home to one of our rescue dogs until they are adopted. Our supporters have been incredible during the pandemic and helped keep our doors open when we lost over 60% of our income. But the next 12 months is also going to be a real challenge as we deal with the post-pandemic welfare crisis.”

If you need any help or would like to make a donation to the care of dogs at Hope Rescue, please get in touch 01443 226659 or email Further information about Hope Rescue’s work can be found at

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