A WELSH animal rescue charity has seen a dramatic increase in the number of dogs in their care.

Hope Rescue has seen a ‘significant’ increase of surrendered dogs since the firebreak lockdown ended in Wales.

There has been a 100 per cent increase in surrenders at this point of the year, compared to 2019, and many of the dogs entering the centre’s care are arriving with chronic untreated illnesses.

As these dogs need medical treatment this has made a huge impact on the charities vet bill expenditure.

Examples of chronic illness include extreme skin and ear conditions requiring ongoing treatment and dogs entering the centre with severe damage to their eyes and vision, which is often irreparable and very painful.

Last year only one dog was sent to the vets for eye removal; a last resort when pain is unmanageable, and the condition can’t be treated.

In the last two weeks Hope Rescue, based in Rhondda Cynon Taf but cares for animals across South Wales, have had three dogs needing eye removal surgery, including two-year-old Penny who has lost both eyes as it was the only option to relieve her pain.

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Penny already has no sight, so the centre is hopeful that she will cope well as she recovers in one of their dedicated foster homes.

Head of Welfare at Hope, Sara Rosser, said: “In the last two weeks we have had three lovely dogs who have needed this surgery.

“As well as Penny, we have had Cobweb, a French Bulldog who came to us as a stray and Alf, a German Shepherd who was surrendered to us by his owners due to a change in circumstances.

"Both had painful, untreated glaucoma and both dogs have had to have one of their eyes removed. They are recovering in foster homes before going up for adoption.

“Currently we are seeing an unprecedented number of dogs surrendered to us with a chronic, untreated medical condition.

“We believe this increase may be due to many owners struggling financially in the current climate, but we are also taking in dogs where they have only been with the owner for a couple of days or weeks.

“The demand for dogs is so high at the moment that they are being purchased privately without the new owners being aware of the dog’s needs or being prepared for the financial responsibility that comes with dog ownership.

“We are grateful that owners are asking for help rather than abandoning their dogs as we often see. But his comes at a cost and the increased demand for our services has put a huge amount of pressure on us as a charity.

“However, our doors have remained open throughout the pandemic and we are dedicated to continuing to provide a place of safety for the most vulnerable dogs in our local community.”

Due to these complex medical needs Hope Rescue’s vet bills are currently £13,000 every month.

The charity has already suffered financially due to Storm Dennis closing their charity shop in February and the impact of coronavirus on fundraising events.

If you are able to donate to Hope Rescue call 01443 226659 or visit hoperescue.org.uk

Alternatively, donate £10 by texting HOPERESCUE to 70085.