For many animal lovers, adopting a pet is the pinnacle happiness. And, with the UK going into lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis, many people across the country are thinking about welcoming a pet into their home. But are are animal shelters still open at this time, and what are the logistics of adopting at this point in time? Here's what you need to know about pet adoptions in the UK during the coronavirus lockdown.
Increase in number of adoptions
In the weeks leading up to lockdown, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, one of the UK's best-known animal shelters, reported a huge spike in adoptions. As a matter of fact, it was actually double the amount of animals adopted in the same week in 2019. In the week of March 16-22, a stonking 69 cats and 86 dogs found their furever homes. “As many people are preparing to spend a significant amount of time at home over the coming weeks, it is only expected that some may be thinking about the companionship a pet could offer,” Rob Young, head of operations at Battersea Home, said at the time. “People are now having some more time to settle pets into their home, and are looking to do some good by rescuing animals who are waiting for their own home.”
Are UK animal shelters still allowing adoptions during the coronavirus lockdown?
Despite this increase in adoptions in the early weeks of March, I was curious to find out if there had been any rulings surrounding animal shelters and the adoption of pets in light of the UK government instructing putting the country into lockdown. I contacted the team over at Battersea, who confirmed that there is no official legislation on the matter but they – like a number of other shelters around the UK – have decided to pause all adoptions for the time being. Some are even having to consider closing down completely due to the financial issues this crisis has caused.
The decision to pause adoptions is individual to each animal rescue organisation. But for many shelters, the reality is that, without a thorough home inspection (which is obviously not possible at this time), they wouldn't want to re-home the pets under their care.
A Pet Is For Life, Not Just For Lockdown
If you were able to adopt a before shelters shut began, or are planning to do so from somewhere that is still offering this service, there are a few things to think about – lockdown or no lockdown.
There's no denying that anybody who has a pet RN is having a better time than those who don't and, especially if you live alone, the desire for a pet is strong. Thing is though, when this period of social isolation and social distancing ends, many of us are going to have to go back to our old lives. That means you'll have to factor in going to work with having an animal in your house that needs constant care. And of course there's costs to think about, including food, vet's fees, and of course pet-sitting if you're away a lot. Think of what's best for animals in the long run.
Shelters struggling at this time may need help in finding temporary homes for their animals while they adjust to the new order or things. If you are able to, this may be one way you can help. It could also be a good way to test the waters in terms of pet ownership before making a full commitment.
Donate Money & Food
Owning an animal isn't the only way to make a difference. A quick internet search will help you find the multiple animal shelters near you that need you help in other ways. So check out the websites and social media of local animal charities, they almost definitely have not only an online donation service but a way to buy food for the pets on site too.
Who knows when this will all be over or how life will differ in a few months time? One thing that's certain is that it's vital to remember not to make any rash decisions regarding pet adoption and to consider what's best for the animal now and always.