Dog charity fears being overwhelmed with lockdown puppies

A Castle Douglas dog rescue charity fears it will be overwhelmed by unwanted lockdown puppies.

The Doodle Trust takes in hundreds of poodle cross-breeds every year and bids to find homes for them.

Designer dogs such as cockapoos and labradoodles end up with the charity after their owners fail to cope.

Now boss Barbara Turnbull is worried a Covid-19 clamour for doggie companions will test the charity to the limit.

She said: “I fear we are going to have an absolute nightmare when this is over.

“We expect a surge in September and October after children go back to school and people get back to work.

“These pups are used to having somebody at home then suddenly are left on their own.

“They suffer separation anxiety and either scream the house down or wreck the place.

“Owners then shut them in a crate and then they go stir crazy. They get all this attention then bang – they’re shut away.

“It’s little wonder they get mental health problems.”

Norfolk-born Barbara, who has lived in the Stewartry since she was 17, added: “People have paid stupid amounts of money for these puppies so they will try to sell them on.

“They will be sold again and again and end up with a rescue charity.

“By that time they are mentally traumatised because they have been shoved from pillar to post.”

Barb and Kayley.
Barb and Kayley. (Image: Jim McEwan)

Barbara, who has been rehoming dogs for 42 years, set up the Doodle Trust in 2007. Her charity is bracing itself for a wave of unwanted dogs from across the UK.

“Many people with time to spare during lockdown will not have considered what happens to their dogs when lockdown ends and they have to go out again,” Barbara said.

“We will take them in and then try to get them accustomed to being left for a period of time.”

Barbara, 60, also condemned greedy breeders for exploiting lockdown loneliness to charge vastly inflated prices.

“I know people have paid a deposit on a puppy costing £1,200 then are told they must pay £3,000,” she said.

“That’s a clear breach of contract but it happens.

“One breeder had more than 200 litters of cavapoos and cockapoos in a year.

“These folk are not interested in the health and the welfare of the dog. They are in it purely for the money.”

Some breeders are also ignoring potential behavioural issues with red cockapoos, a cocker spaniel-red poodle cross breed, claimed Barbara.

“Cockapoos are being bred just because they are cute and cuddly,” Barbara said, “but cocker spaniels have guarding issues. They guard toys, food, the house and their owners.

“Crossed with an intelligent dog like a red poodle, they do that even better.

“More and more people are breeding these dogs without any thought to what the cross entails.

“We get at least five calls a week from people who have been put in A&E with cockapoo bites.”

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