FULL SHELTERS: Red Collar Rescue's Sharyn Banks says her shelter is lacking space as fewer dogs are collected. PHOTO: Warren Lynam
FULL SHELTERS: Red Collar Rescue's Sharyn Banks says her shelter is lacking space as fewer dogs are collected. PHOTO: Warren Lynam

Owners giving up on man's best friend amid virus panic

SHELTERS in the region are struggling to cope with demand as pet owners leave their dogs behind.

Red Collar Rescue's Sharyn Banks said amid the coronavirus they had started to notice a dramatic rise in the number of unclaimed dogs.

"This is new territory we have never had anything like this and it is really scary but dogs don't pose a risk to humans, dogs can't transmit COVID-19," Ms Banks said.

"I don't know what is happening, I can't wrap my head around it, I think people are panicking and not thinking straight."

Ms Banks is urging people to collect their dogs from the pound so they don't have to start turning dogs away.

"We have all of these dogs left at the pound, I assume it is financial hardship or potential financial hardship is stopping people from getting dogs out of the pound but I am not sure.

"We are doubling dogs up and pulling rabbits out of hats to be able to fit dogs in.

"It is entirely possible that in the next week we will have to start leaving dogs behind and that breaks my heart to even think about, but if we don't have anywhere to put them we can't take them."

To help Red Collar Rescue Ms Banks said along with people collecting their dogs, others could sign up to foster while isolating.

"While people are self-isolating it is definitely the right time to foster or adopt, it is also going to help out shelters," she said.

"But the biggest message is if your dog is in the pound don't go 'I can't afford it' ring the council and talk to them and come up with a solution."

Meanwhile, Sugarland Animal Hospital has reminded clients that the World Organisation for Animal Health has said the spread of COVID-19 is human to human transmission and there is no evidence companion animals can spread the disease.