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dog eat dog Eurovision's Linda Martin says animal shelters seeing fallout from pandemic puppy craze

Linda also tells how puppy farmers reaped rich rewards over the last two years

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Linda with Bane, a husky cross

Linda with Bane, a husky cross

Linda with Bane, a husky cross

Eurovision icon Linda Martin reveals how animal shelters are now seeing the fallout from the pandemic puppy craze with owners offloading their dogs as they return to work.

As she launches two all-star fundraising concerts, Linda also tells how puppy farmers reaped rich rewards in the last two years as they cashed in on the demand for dogs during the Covid lockdown.

"The puppy farmers made an absolute killing, they made millions right through the Covid with everybody at home and people buying dogs to amuse their children or amuse themselves," Linda tells the Sunday World.

"I thought it was just awful that people would spend so much money on buying dogs. As we speak today, an awful lot of those same dogs are now being surrendered to the dog shelters because their owners are going back to work.

People never took into account what was going to happen when they returned to their offices and the children went back to school, and there's no one home.

"What happens is, if you lock up a dog all day they amuse themselves, they chew the carpet and the furniture, and they do all sorts of things… and then they're a problem. With very good intentions, people will say 'oh, I'll get a dog walker,' but that costs money. People don't walk dogs for free, so you've got double problems, really.

"It's just an awful shame people didn't put more thought into it, rather than going out and buying a dog. The only people who benefited were the puppy farmers who made vasts amount of money."

However, Linda says that while the dog rescue centres are now under pressure, she welcomes the fact that owners are not abandoning their animals on city streets or country lanes.

"The unwanted dogs are being handed into the various rescues, so that's good." Linda acknowledges. "At least they're not being dumped on the street. But it's double trouble for the centres because in addition to finding homes for their regular dogs, they've now got these pedigree dogs that people have paid a fortune for.

But I still urge people who intend surrendering their dogs to make sure they do hand them in to a rescue centre where they'll be looked after."

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