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One of the questions we are most frequently asked on social media is: “Why are so many dogs being surrendered? Is it the cost of living crisis?” The answer is yes.
Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania CEO Mark Wild said anecdotal evidence pointed to an increasing number of people citing financial difficulties as the primary reason for surrendering their dog.
“We can see through our in-house reporting that money worries account for more and more people bringing their dogs to us,” Mark said. “It’s distressing for families to have to part with a beloved pet because they are no longer able to adequately care for them.
“With more than half of Australians saying they are now struggling financially, the reality is that a few lost pay packets due to illness or accident can leave families in absolute desperation.”
Aside from mortgage uncertainty and the steeply rising cost of living, soaring rental costs or changes to rental agreements to bar dogs are among the pressures dog owners are facing. Veterinary care costs for injured, sick or ageing dogs are also often cited as a reason for owners to reluctantly relinquish their dogs.
“Households diverting at least 30 per cent of their disposable income to service a mortgage – a standard financial stress gauge – will account for 48.5 per cent of total borrowers by the end of the year, according to the Australian National University’s Australian tax and welfare system model,” the Guardian Australia reported earlier this month.
“Households’ personal finances are under strain, with 41 per cent saying they are ‘struggling a bit’, watching their budget to pay bills; and 13 per cent reporting they are ‘in serious difficulty’, meaning ‘being able to pay all the bills is a regular concern’,” a Guardian Australia Essential poll showed.
Mark said these widespread financial pressures had also affected donations to the Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania.
“We are incredibly grateful for every cent people can spare for us at this time,” he said. “As an organisation, we are also feeling the pinch, but our mission remains unchanged: we are always here for Tasmania’s lost and abadoned dogs. We never say no to any dog, and there are no time limits on how long a dog stays with us – we will care for them until they find their forever home.”