Dog rescue center bans pet owner who returned puppy because it “didn’t fit on the couch”


A former dog owner is now banned from a rescue center after returning a puppy claiming “he did not fit on the couch”.

Claire Horton, the former CEO of Battersea Dogs and Cats, spoke on BBC Radio 4 Disks of the desert island, about the influx of people looking to become pet owners during the pandemic.

She said there had been an increase in inquiries at the home for dog and cat placement, and the lockdown had meant there were fewer animals abandoned for placement.

This is in part because people had more time for their animals and found their animals to be helping them during the lockdown.

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But also that people were buying dogs on the Internet, which she described as a “poverty industry”.

Not all dogs that are taken in by Battersea stay with their new owners, with Claire claiming that around 10% of dogs are then returned to the charity – one dog was returned because the owner complained that he did not fit his sofa.

The former CEO said: “Usually it will be a very real change in circumstances, so it could be an illness. Someone could die.

“It could be a relationship breakdown, and people get divorced, and we see it a lot.”

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Claire said the high cost of owning a pet along with vet fees and insurance also meant some families were struggling to keep their dogs during the pandemic after losing their jobs. But for others, the reality of dog ownership is too much to deal with.

She said: “Then we’ll have people bringing them back because they didn’t think it was going to pee on the carpet or chew on the bottom of their door.

“We even brought a dog back once because it didn’t fit on the couch!

Claire said that while they never judge an adopter, that person is now banned from Battersea and their unwanted dog has found a more loving home.

Animal adoption gives pets a second chance to live in a loving family.

The CEO said: “This is the whole point of Battersea’s premise around ‘Rescue is our favorite breed’.

“It’s not about what breed it is, what color it is.

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“It’s just about being a rescue, just being an animal you’ve given a chance that needs a wonderful life and is begging for a fantastic home.

“And all he wants is love. And what you get out of it is unconditional loyalty and love forever.”

Listen to Claire Horton’s Desert Island records on BBC Sounds here


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