NEWS AND COMMENT-UK: During Covid market forces pushed up dog prices significantly. More people wanted to adopt a dog and the supply wasn’t there until illegal breeders on the continent of Europe stepped in. But in general, there were more buyers than sellers and so the prices went up. Now, post-Covid, they have fallen dramatically. Research indicates that prices have fallen from a record high of £2,237 to £1,229 on average.
A disturbing aspect of this story is that one reason for the drop in price is that some people became amateur puppy breeders in order to make some money during Covid. This meant more puppies on the market and therefore marketplace forces drove prices down. I find this depressing because I don’t think we need more puppies and dogs. We need more people to adopt rescue animals from rescue centres.
A person who disagrees with me on this is Lee Gibson, UK managing director of Pets4Homes. He said: “For years, the UK has suffered from a chronic undersupply of puppies and kittens that has failed to meet the demand for pets, in particular during the height of the pandemic”.
I have never had that before. If there is or was an undersupply of puppies and kittens, why are there unwanted cats and dogs at rescue centres across the country? The world that Mr Gibson is describing is one in which there would be no rescue animals in any shelter in the country. I think he’s wrong. And I don’t like people jumping on the bandwagon breeding cats and dogs to make a quick buck when the alternative, to adopt a rescue animal, is far better in terms of animal welfare. It is self-indulgent to breed puppies for money as an informal, temporary and inexperienced breeder. It is treating animals as commodities and assets or any other inanimate product.
Mr Gibson also said that there was little evidence that people were abandoning pandemic puppies i.e. animals that they had adopted during the pandemic. There were fears that because of the rush to adopt a companion animal during those long lockdowns that they would eventually abandon them. In fact, I have read that this has happened. There have been reports of people trying to resell their dogs on social media. Clearly this is a very bad for dog welfare. And clearly, I’m getting conflicting reports here.
Logic dictates that they will be some people who adopted dogs (in particular) during Covid on a whim without properly researching the obligations and responsibilities that dog ownership entails and deciding that they must abandon their animal when things return to normal and they had to go into the office.
Cats also became more popular during lockdowns but less so than for dogs and prices have fallen for cats as well but by 20 percent only.
It appears that according to Pets4Homes, the most popular pets during that rush of adoptions over Covid were dogs with 63% of sales followed by cats at 15% of sales and rabbits at 6%. Dogs far outstripped the sales of cats. This is supported by my personal experience in walking in the park near where I live. I’ve never seen so many companion dogs and I’m referring to young dogs which were recently adopted.
My guess is that dogs suddenly became far more popular because people had time on their hands (being paid furlough money to do nothing) to go to the park and walk their new dog. The UK government was far too generous and now the country is saddled with £400 billions of extra debt which will take 30 years to get rid of.
Below are some more articles on dog ownership.