175 dogs rehomed by RSPCA in West Yorkshire last year following huge demand for pets during lockdown

Dog rehoming soared during lockdown as families spending more time at home due to the pandemic and home-working sought the companionship of a pet.

New figures, released by the RSPCA, reveal 4,877 dogs were rehomed in 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown. In West Yorkshire the RSPCA rehomed 175 dogs in 2020.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “At the beginning of lockdown we were concerned about how difficult it might be to rehome animals, especially as we had to pause all rehoming for several weeks until we were able to come up with a new rehoming model that adhered to the Government’s guidelines.

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“Once we had approval from Defra to re-launch rehoming, we were staggered by the levels of interest we had in our animals; particularly our dogs.

175 dogs were rehomed in West Yorkshire in 2020

"We saw an unprecedented level of interest in rehoming dogs from families who were spending more time at home and wanted the company of a furry friend.

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“We had 68 per cent more visits to the Find A Pet section of our website between March 23 - the first day of lockdown - and December 31 compared to the previous year; and views of our ‘rehoming a dog’ information spiked by 87 per cent.

"Many of our centres received hundreds of applications for individual dogs and some canines were being snapped up before they’d even been advertised online.”

The charity launched virtual rehoming in order to continue rehoming animals while still sticking to the Government’s restrictions on social distancing and non-essential travel.

People were encouraged to apply for pets online and staff arranged video call interviews and meet and greets to match the right homes with the right people.

Dr Gaines added: “While most of our animals were snapped up quickly, there are some who have sadly been overlooked time and time again because of their colour, breed, age or background. This Adoptober, we want to try to find homes for all of the wonderful dogs who remain with us.”