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The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) warns the rising cost of living is leading to an animal welfare crisis

The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) fears this is the start of an animal welfare crisis caused by a rise in pet ownership rates colliding with cost-of-living pressures. […]

The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) fears this is the start of an animal welfare crisis caused by a rise in pet ownership rates colliding with cost-of-living pressures. Members are seeing an increase in animals coming into their care with many centres already full and others close to capacity, as rehoming slows down and more people are looking to give up their pets.


Recent research by the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) shows that demand for rescue dogs has declined in the past year while the number of dogs being abandoned is higher in 2022 than 2021 and 2020. Although there seems to be a variation in the evidence for cat abandonments there is strong anecdotal evidence to suggest that there is a similar trend for cats.


70% of ADCH member rescues surveyed, report an influx of dogs with behavioural issues.  This is in line with studies indicating that inexperienced dog owners are giving up dogs they acquired during lockdown and are now unable to care for, due to a variety of factors.  Anecdotal evidence from our members also suggests that there are similar reasons for the relinquishments of cats.


Sara Atkinson, Founder and CEO of Yorkshire Cat Rescue has said that ‘we have seen a marked decline in the number home offers we receive. This could be for many reasons such as post lockdown lifestyle changes and the rise in the cost of living which directly affects the ability for owners and new adopters, to be able to pay for the care of their animal. There has also been an influx of cats and kittens coming into rescue. We have seen an increase in relinquishment due to owners struggling to pay vet fees and we have also seen a significant increase in the number of unwanted litters. The rescues are now struggling to cope, and we are now at breaking point.’


Halita Obineche, Executive Director of ADCH, said: “There was a huge surge in people getting pets in lockdown and we are dealing with the fallout. Inexperienced owners unable to manage pets with behavioural issues caused by poor training and a lack of socialisation; workers returning to the office; and now the rising cost of living, all combining to create a national animal welfare crisis.


“Our members emerged from lockdown struggling with a lack of funds and a dearth of experienced staff. They are overburdened – both in terms of space and the emotional toll of dealing with an epidemic of dog abandonment.”


If you can give a cat or dog a safe and loving home, or you would like to make a donation, search for your local ADCH Member here




Notes to Editors

About the Association of Dog and Cat Homes

  • The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH) is the umbrella group and leading representative charity for dog and cat rescue and rehoming organisations across the UK and ROI.
  • ADCH promotes best practice in animal welfare for dogs and cats. Members encompass charities of all sizes, from the smallest to the largest, plus some Individual members, so the number of people involved measures many thousands.
  • ADCH was founded in 1985 with the purpose of developing good practice in the rescue and rehoming of dogs and cats.
  • ADCH hosts for the UK’s largest animal welfare Annual Conference, welcoming 500 delegates a day over two days.
  • Visit for further information.
  • ADCH Registered charity no: 1180574
  • ADCH Contact Details: Executive Director, Halita Obineche ([email protected]; Therese Davall, Member & Administration Manager ([email protected])

Written by: ADCH