The Wokingham Paper

Dog shelters struggle amid lockdown pressures

Jo Cottrell at the Dog Trouble Trust base, off Heathlands Road in Wokingham
Jo Cottrell at the Dog Trouble Trust base, off Heathlands Road in Wokingham

SHELTERS across the borough are struggling to look after their animals with reduced staff and donations.

Lockdown measures mean people must work from home, but for rescue centres this is impossible, as the animals need constant care.

Brian Johnson, owner of Binfield Dog Rescue, said: “It’s only myself and one volunteer looking after these animals – we’re struggling but have to keep it going”.

His charity mostly takes in vulnerable dogs from council pounds — often Rottweilers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers — and cares for them until they are adopted.

Another shelter — The Dog Trouble Foundation in Wokingham — specialises in rescuing, rehoming and rehabilitating unwanted pups, such as older dogs and those with health conditions and behavioural issues. 

It is caring for three of them with a skeleton crew, as most of its staff have been given furlough.

Both shelters are struggling as they cannot home their dogs or take any more in.

Some of the dogs at Binfield Dog Rescue include, from left, Alvin, Bow and Ralph.

Mr Johnson said he has received more calls in recent weeks from people wanting to give old dogs away, but has seen a dip in the amount of people enquiring to adopt.

However, the opposite was reported by Dog Trouble’s founder, Ms Cottrell, who said: “We have seen an increase in people wanting to have a dog.

“Everyone’s at home, bored and wondering how they can help, so they enquire about adopting or fostering, but we have to think about the long term.

“What happens when they go back to work and have less time to look after a pet?

“It’s a sad time for rescue dogs, and most shelters must be in the same situation as us, struggling to protect the staff and the animals”.

Mr Johnson agreed, adding: “As vets are only open to emergencies right now, we can’t get them microchipped or looked at – it’s hard, we can’t give the dogs the care they deserve without these things”.

Sammy and Shadow are two of the pooches at Dog Trouble Trust.

Ms Cottrell has taken her services online, making videos on her YouTube channel to help owners train their dogs at home and manage until the restrictions are lifted.

Binfield Dog Rescue relies on donations, but where it is doing well with food, it is struggling to pay the bills.

To help it continue running, visit the website for more information on how to donate: binfield.dogrescues.org

Both shelters are closed and not accepting volunteers, or applications to adopt and foster.

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