Rescue centre saw demand for dogs jump 400pc during lockdown
- Credit: REAN
A mid Norfolk rescue centre has revealed it saw five times the usual demand for dogs during lockdown.
Rescuing European Animals in Need (REAN), based near Dereham, received about 100 messages a day from potential adopters after strict curbs on day-to-day life were introduced.
Its founder, Bagdat Ozarslan, said she would take around 20 enquiries each day before the pandemic.
Demand for pets - especially puppies - skyrocketed last year as millions of people began working from home.
In Norfolk alone, the RSPCA rehomed more than 1,200 animals in 2020.
But for REAN, the priority was using a stringent selection process to ensure animals were being take in by the appropriate owners-to-be.
"Our applications went up by around 400pc during lockdown," said Miss Ozarslan.
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"We were being careful not to rehome with people who were not taking into consideration what their situations might be after lockdown. We asked what their working hours were like before.
"We have been so selective. When people say 'we are working from home for the foreseeable', that is no good. We have only given dogs to people who were working at home prior to lockdown.
""If you looked at our Facebook page, we were being slated for not rehoming more dogs. But we were being so selective because we didn't want dogs to be be forgotten later down the line."
Established in 2013, REAN works towards preventing cruelty towards Romanian stray dogs by offering them for adoption.
The charity, which has thus far rehomed 2,500 stray animals, has two rescue centres in Romania and a third in Norfolk.
Despite the upsurge in ownership seen last year, the RSPCA has warned of a "dog welfare crisis" as buyers return to offices and are faced with temperamental behaviour from their pets.
Miss Ozarslan added: "If you adopt a puppy and you are with them 24/7, then go back to normal and start leaving it at home, that puppy will have no idea what to do. They will become destructive.
"Because we aren't as well known as the big charities, we don't really get many dogs handed back. Others have suffered a lot more but we did have a few come back to us, which is really sad to see."