Rise in female dogs being abandoned after breeding

This month local charity, Bath Cats and Dogs Home, launch their Keeping Mum Spring Appeal which aims to raise £10,000 towards funding their welfare work to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome cats and dogs across Bath and North-East Somerset and west Wiltshire.  Last year, the Home cared for seventeen female rescue dogs who arrived as strays, either heavily pregnant or showing signs of recently giving birth, and the number of dogs being abandoned after breeding is expected to rise in 2023.

The cost-of-living crisis meant that 2022 saw the highest number of cats and dogs arriving at Bath Cats and Dogs Home needing support and care since 2019 with an intake of 788 animals.  This included a rapid increase in pregnant and post-breeding female dogs. Overall, the Home saw a shocking 121% increase in abandoned animals in the last year.

Helpless animals, like Mavis and Pandora, arrive at the Home desperately needing urgent care and the animal behaviour team often work for months to slowly win back the trust of a female dog that has been through a challenging breeding experience. To read about their stories look for ‘spring appeal’ at bathcatsanddogshome.org.uk

In February, Mavis came to Bath Cats and Dogs Home as an abandoned stray, nervous, covered in sores and dangerously thin. During her medical examination, she was found to be producing milk and displaying signs of a recent pregnancy. Her carers worked closely with Mavis to ensure she felt as comfortable and secure as possible in her new surroundings.

Pandora, arrived at the Home as a stray in October 2022 and it is not known how long she had been alone, but it is believed to be a considerable amount of time. On arrival, our team suspected she might be expecting, but a scan at the vet suite confirmed that she was heavily pregnant and due any day. The team sprang into action to ensure she was settled in the state-of-the-art birthing suite in the Home’s puppy kennel, and everyone anxiously awaited the big day.

Abandoned stray, Pandora and her ten puppies born at Bath Cats and Dogs Home in Nov 2022

Under the watchful eyes of the animal care team, Pandora gave birth to an incredible ten healthy puppies in November and over the next few days, both mum and puppies required round-the-clock care. Staff all took turns checking in on the pups, anxious to see that they were doing well. The veterinary team made sure Pandora had the rest and relaxation she needed to recover from her busy night while monitoring the puppies to ensure they were growing strong.

From increased care needs and costs like puppy food and carers, to medical treatments, the arrival of new puppies meant that Bath Cats and Dogs Home and its animal care team were pushed to the limit during their busiest period. The team worked tirelessly to get the puppies socialised and ready for everyday life while our Rehoming team searched for and found new loving homes for Pandora and all ten of her puppies.

Kirsty Long, Senior Behaviour Assessor at Bath Cats & Dogs Home said: “I always remember the days when we get a breeding Mum like Pandora or Mavis brought to the Home; they are so scared and vulnerable they make a big impression on the whole team. When Mavis first arrived, she was lonely, skinny and fragile so I would check in on her often to give her some treats and back scratches and we became firm friends, but it was a long road to recovery for her.Luckily, she has recently been adopted by a loving new owner. In the future, we know we will see more dogs like Mavis so please help us provide the care they deserve.”

Rachel Jones, Chief Executive at Bath Cats and Dogs Home said: “Dogs like Mavis and Pandora really need our help to recover from their ordeals as strays and we are committed to being there for them when they need us most. Their breeding stories are just a few examples of the life-changing support we provide to hundreds of animals each year. The year ahead is set to be a challenging one for the Home as we expect more stray and abandoned animals to arrive who have been left to fend for themselves. Every animal deserves a happy ending and each step in their care journey relies on donations from the local community so your support for our appeal as an individual supporter or a corporate partner is hugely appreciated.”

Funds from this appeal will help give these dogs a safe space to recover and relax, vital medical treatments, and allow the animal behaviour team to work closely with them to get them ready for their forever homes. Typically, £10would fund puppy essentials like specialised food or toys, £35for first vaccinations or £100could pay for an ultrasound scan to confirm pregnancy and help plan for any puppies.

To support our Keeping Mum Spring Appeal, visit bathcatsanddogshome.org.uk