Dogs behind bars

The Harmful Consequences Caused by Pet Abandonment

Leaving dogs and cats behind harms the animals, their owners and shelters


The abandoning of pets has far-reaching consequences for the animals involved as well as for the community. Abandonment exposes dogs and cats to an uncertain fate, once on the streets they must fend for themselves and may suffer from hunger, thirst, injuries and diseases. As well as feeling distressed and confused because they have been left on their own in an unfamiliar place by their owner.

Furthermore, dumping animals has consequences for the community that many people are often unaware of: The animals may pose a road safety risk if they run out in front of cars searching for their owner. They may cause a ‘nuisance’ to the community searching for food, barking at other dogs, or even biting someone due to feeling unsafe.

  • Abandoned dogs and cats face an uncertain and stressful future

The fate of abandoned pets is almost always tragic. While some pets are picked up by animal shelters, the authorities or taken in by people who find them, many are not so lucky, and they must live on the streets in constant fear forced to take care of themselves. For puppies and kittens that are not weaned at the point when they are abandoned, this is almost always a death sentence. Stray animals are likely to be thirsty, hungry and exposed to extreme weather conditions. Without veterinary care, shelter and food they will sooner or later become sick and die.

Animals that are not neutered when dumped, will also contribute to an already existing stray animal overpopulation; their offspring will be born into a life on the streets, fighting for their survival.

  • Animal shelters and rescues are severely impacted

Surrendered and abandoned animals can become a financial burden for governmental and non-governmental organisations that take care of them. Animal shelters and animal rescue organisations are often struggling to stay financially afloat. This burden has been increased due to people dumping their animals during the Covid-19 Pandemic They usually do not receive any government funds and are dependent on donations to provide the necessary care for unwanted animals.

Apart from the financial side, at some point many shelters reach their full capacity of animals they can take in and may resort to using euthanasia.

  • Pet owners experience emotional consequences

Dumping a pet can for some owners be very upsetting and have a long-term impact. It can push the owner and their family into an emotional crisis. Especially children suffer when their pet is suddenly taken away from them. Many people who have surrendered their animals to animal shelters feel guilty and ashamed as if they had failed and betrayed their pet, who depended on and trusted them.

There are many consequences of abandoning a pet and all steps should be taken to avoid abandonment and prevent these consequences.

Cat Rosie in Cambodia

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