A dog owner has been banned from a rescue centre after trying to return a puppy – because it “didn’t match the sofa”.
Claire Horton is the former CEO of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London.
She spoke to the BBC’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ recently about the surge of people wanting to own a pet in the pandemic.
She warned that prospective owners should do so for the right reasons, and revealed some of the reasons people return animals.
Claire also added that buying dogs off the internet is an “industry in misery”, reports the Liverpool Echo.
She said: “Usually it will be a very genuine change in circumstances [why people return], so it could be an illness. Someone might die.
“It might be a relationship breakdown, and people get divorced, and we see that a lot.”
Claire estimates that around 10 per cent of dogs that are rehomed are later returned.
She said: “We’ll get people who will bring them back because they hadn’t thought it was going to wee on the carpet or chew the bottom of their door.
“We’ve even had a dog come back once because it didn’t match the sofa!”
That person is now banned from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, she added.
Claire said the high cost of pet ownership with vet fees and insurance also meant some families struggled to keep their dogs during the pandemic after losing their jobs.
But, for others, the reality of dog ownership is too much to cope with.
But the CEO added that staff work hard to make sure as many dogs as possible get a home eventually.
She said: “That’s the point of the whole Battersea premise around ‘rescue is our favourite breed’.
“It’s not about what breed it is, what colour it is.
“It’s about just being a rescue, just being an animal that you’ve given a chance to that needs a wonderful life and is begging for a fantastic home.
Maybe when you get there, make sharing a picture of your dog in our Top Dogs feed your very brilliant first job.
“And all it wants is love. And what you’ll get back from that is unconditional loyalty and love forever.”
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home was first established in 1860.