Rescue homes report surge in abandoned pets

Finland’s animal protection workers say they are seeing an increase in the number of unwanted animals, which they blame on the economic downturn and a change in people’s attitudes towards caring for their pets.

Jämtlanninpystykorva työntää kuonoa tarhan verkon raosta.
Image: Maria Ruokojärvi / Yle

Finland’s animal protection groups have reported a surge in the number of abandoned pets.

A number of the country’s associations for animal rights told Yle that they have received more unwanted animals in the first half of this year than during the whole of 2015.

They also reported that the animals being given up are often in a worse condition than previously, with parasites and eye or limb problems appearing far more frequently.

Some said that they believe pet owners are more ready than in the past to give up their animals when they become faced with other economic difficulties.

The Finnish Animal Protection Society, SEY, said that the economic downturn is not the only factor behind the rise.

”People might have nice cars and mobiles, but they’re no longer prepared to pay for their animals’ wellbeing,” acting SEY head Maria Lindqvist said.

The organisation runs around a dozen of Finland’s 200 animal sanctuaries. In Pirkanmaa, staff report receiving numerous calls from dog owners who want to give up their pets as soon as that same day.

”People are getting rid of their animals very easily and don’t want to spend time or money fixing small problems. This is a very sad situation,” said Taru Lindell, head of the Pirkanmaa animal protection society.

Meanwhile Boondocks Kennels, for rescued animals in eastern Pirkanmaa, reported taking in one-fifth more animals this year than 12 months ago. Jari Pellas told Yle that recently much of their work has been in conjunction with the police, who have removed animals from people, for instance when they are taken into custody. If a foster place cannot be found for the animal, they are taken to a rescue home.

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