People who buy dogs that they can’t really afford are calling on the government to do more to help with the cost of food, vet bills and paying somebody else to walk them.
A recent study found that if a person who typically has £100 per month spare cash buys a dog that costs £200 per month to keep, they may have to go on holiday less, or start being a bit careful with how much money they spend on other luxuries.
‘It’s clear that more needs to be done by the government to help families cope with the financial burden of buying dogs they can’t afford.’ said Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com, ‘But in the meantime families can help their situation by reviewing household budgets and looking at where they can cut costs to save a bit of extra cash. Or maybe by selling one of their children.’
Steve Hill from Coventry is one of many affected by the problems of having bought dogs he can’t afford. ‘We were getting by ok on my salary but then the wife decided it would be nice for us to have a pet for the kids to play with, so I went out and bought three Great Danes.’ explained Steve, who believes the government should step in to help people have things they want without making sacrifices for them, ‘It turns out the things are bloody expensive, who’d have thought it? If I’d known that I might have tried to save up a bit first or something.’
Steve has welcomed a draft proposal for a ‘Pet benefit’ to be introduced to help families under a certain household income cope with the costs of keeping dogs, but others have criticised the level at which the threshold will be set.
‘I only earn slightly more than somebody who earns slightly more than somebody who earns slightly more than somebody who earns slightly more than somebody who earns just over the threshold. So why should they get the benefit but I should have to pay to support my own dogs, just because I can afford to?’ asked the managing director of HSBC.
Some, however, are critical of the whole idea of the government paying to support what they see as an individual’s lifestyle choices.
‘People need to just accept that it’s not the government’s responsibility to cover the financial implications of their choices.’ said Kirsty Jones, unemployed single mother of three.