RELATIONSHIP BREAKDOWN is the chief cause of dogs and cats being given up by their owners, says The Blue Cross, Britain’s pet charity.
The charity has 11 adoption centres throughout the UK, and an average of 60 per cent of the animals in their care have been handed over following a failed relationship resulting in a broken home.
Some animals have been brought in to Blue Cross centres for their own safety – when violent owners have turned on their pet as a way of hurting their partner. The Blue Cross has also seen animals used as pawns in divorce proceedings or simply abandoned when couples can’t agree on custody. In some cases, one partner has left their pet with the charity to spite the other.
Following the sale of the marital home, owners may find themselves in flats unsuitable for dogs or with an unsympathetic landlord meaning that they’ve had to give up their companion. Some owners might have to take a full-time job or make other life changes that are incompatible with keeping their pet.
Steve Broomfield, the Blue Cross’s regional manager south, said; ‘During a relationship breakdown, what to do with the family pet can be te last thing on an owners mind. As pets often become the silent victims of a broken home, The Blue Cross urges owners to spare a thought for their pet’s needs during the difficult time. If people find they are unable to cope, we would encourage them to take their pet along to an animal adoption centre, rather than abandon it.’