Dogs are being abandoned at animal rescues across Australia in droves, with experts claiming this is the fallout of the Covid-19 'pandemic puppy' wave of people taking on a pet to stave off isolation.
As people are returning to work, many are finding it difficult to balance their jobs and owning a pet.
According to RSPCA Victoria around 50 dogs per month have been surrendered. This number has now swelled to 150 dogs per month since Christmas, placing significant stress on the animal charity's resources.
RSPCA Victoria also say there has been a dip in the number of people reclaiming lost dogs that wind up at the shelter.
And it isn't just big dogs - RSPCA Victoria animal care manager Nadia Peiris told Nine News that small dogs are being surrendered too, which is something that 'almost never happens'.
"Covid had a huge impact," Peiris said, adding that while Victoria was worst hit by severe lockdowns, other parts of Australia are likely experiencing similar problems.
"I would expect that quite a few of your biggest states are seeing capacity issues for sure."
The RSPCA isn't the only ones who have noticed the uptick in abandoned pets.
German Shepherd Rescue Victoria (GSRV) reported a similar trend, with three requests every day to surrender a german shepherd.
The charity has now had to make the 'heartbreaking decision' to stop accepting any more dogs until after the Easter break.
The centre revealed they 'cannot cope with the number of dogs that need our help' although the decision 'breaks our heart'.
"We are being inundated with surrender requests again; we knew this year would be busier than ever, but this is just too much," the charity said in an online statement.
"GSRV has received almost 40 requests for help since the beginning of March alone, our foster homes are full ... we just can't keep up and are working through a huge backlog of dogs needing our help."
Animal Medicines Australia (AMA) reported that the pandemic resulted in 'the biggest boom Australia has seen in pet ownership' in 2021.
The AMA also reported that 19 per cent of all pet dogs currently in Australia were procured during the pandemic, which equates to more than one million more dogs in Aussie households since 2019.
But, it seems some of those pet owners weren't able to make it for the long haul. So let's say it for the people in the back: a pet is for life.