‘Out of fashion’: As pandemic subsides, buyer’s remorse fuels dog abandonment in Indonesia


Keeping pets can be a lucrative business, said Putu Dewi, who has been breeding dogs since 2008.

“I have sold puppies for up to 15 million rupees (1,018 USD) each. Older dogs, especially those with certain characteristics and those who have won many dog ​​shows and competitions, can fetch up to 50 million rupees ($3,395),” she said.

The demand for companion dogs has increased, especially at the start of the pandemic.

“There were times when you had to put down a deposit for a specific breed of dog because breeders couldn’t keep up with the growing demand,” said dog lover Kiara Suseno.

Suseno noted that trends for a particular breed come and go. “When the movie Cruella came out (in 2021), everyone wanted a Dalmatian. The same thing happened when the movie Hachiko came out (in 2009), everyone wanted an akita. The problem is what happens to these dogs when this trend has passed,” she said.

Suseno added that the trend of owning a pet is starting to pass now that the pandemic is easing.

“For some, the only reason they have a pet is because they spend a lot of time at home. Now that this is no longer the case, there are cases of neglect and abandonment”, she said.

Dog lover Gunawan pointed to another problem that seems to be proliferating during the pandemic: New dog owners are adopting breeds that aren’t right for them.

“There are people who want big aggressive dogs because they look cool. However, some of these people have never owned a pet before and once they know how bad these dogs can be difficult, they take them to a shelter,” he said.

Gunawan also noted the number of cases where dogs had to be put down by their owners.

“Some dogs are inherently active. When they don’t get the care and attention they deserve, they become stressed and misbehave and sometimes bite humans or other animals,” he said, adding that such cases were increasing.

Dog breeder Dewi also acknowledged the problem, but said she is picky about which clients she accepts to ensure the dogs don’t end up being abandoned or abused.

She’s also happy to buy back a dog from owners experiencing buyer’s remorse, Dewi added.

“Not all breeders would do that and not all breeders are as choosy and discerning about what kind of dog they sell them to,” she said.

“Some breeders are also scam artists, trying to pass off a sick dog as a healthy dog. These things are the reason many dogs end up in shelters.