RSPCA's Stubbington Ark animal rescue centre reports 'huge' increase in dogs with behavioural issues due to Covid-19 isolation

A ROYAL deputy has paid tribute to hard working staff at an animal rescue centre in Fareham who are dealing with a huge increase in animals with behavioural issues due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 4:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 1:59 pm

The Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, David Frere-Cook, visited RSPCA Stubbington Ark in Ranvilles Lane on Monday to salute the hard work of the centre’s 31 staff.

It comes as the animal rescue hub recovers from a ‘huge’ revenue hit caused by the pandemic – and a large rise in dogs with behavioural issues waiting for adoption, according to centre manager Karen Macklin.

She said that there has been a 60 per cent increase in dogs needing behavioural classes before they can be re-homed, with just five of the kennel’s 25 dogs currently ready to leave the centre.

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Pictured: Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, David Frere-Cook with some of the volunteers of Stubbington Ark Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Karen said: ‘Covid has had such a huge effect.

‘The biggest challenge is that a lot of people have gone out and got dogs during the pandemic, but they have not been able to go out to behavioural classes or go and mix with other people and other dogs.

‘We have had one case where a dog was with its owner at home for 18 months, and the dog became so protective that it was biting everyone who would come to the house.’

Pictured: Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire, David Frere-Cook with some of the volunteers of Stubbington Ark Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘Our numbers of dogs with behavioural issues have gone up quite substantially. Now every phone call we get is about a dog with a behavioural issue.’

With staff working with increasing number of animals that prove challenging to re-home, the visit from the deputy lord lieutenant proved to be a real morale boost.

Karen added: ‘It was absolutely brilliant. It was great that he was so pleased to see staff and volunteers doing such a good job.

‘It was really great for them to get that recognition.’

The centre lost more than 80 per cent of its revenue due to fundraising events cancelled by the Covid-19 pandemic, but it has begun to bounce back with its ‘best ever’ summer fete, held on August 22.

Karen added: ‘We raised £11,218 – it’s our most successful one to date.

‘It costs more than £1 million to keep us open, but we are lucky to have a large and loyal supporter base.’

Stubbington Ark will be hosting its Fur and Feathers Fright Night, a Halloween themed fundraising disco and buffet, at Titchfield Community Centre on October 30.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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