Seven-year-old Simba had been advertised on the internet as ‘free to a good home’ by his previous owners who were no longer able to look after him. Unbeknownst to her mum, her teenage girl adopted Simba for free online, giving her mother quite the shock when she came home from work and found all 45kg of him lounging in her living room.
On February 6, the RSPCA were contacted to collect Simba. He is currently still being cared for by the organisation.
RSPCA inspector Kirsten Ormerod said: “Simba is microchipped so I managed to trace his original owners and advised them that they should have sought help from a reputable charity to ensure a good home for Simba.
“They signed him over into our care and we have now taken him into our rescue centre in Kent.”
Simba currently needs veterinary treatment for an abscess on his leg. He was also in need of a haircut and a groom as he arrived with a matted coat.
The dog is also actually underweight as a typical Tibetan mastiff should weigh around 65kg. He has been put on a special diet to help him gain weight.
He will be neutered and once vets have given the go-ahead, he will be free to go to a new, carefully selected home.
Kirsten said: “Simba is such a laid-back, gentle and sweet lad. He really is an absolute joy to be around and it doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened to him as a result of him being offered ‘free to a good home’ online.”
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The RSPCA has asked families not to sell or rehome pets online but to seek help and guidance from charities and rescue centres instead.
This warning comes as charities are preparing for a greater number of owners deciding to rehome their pets due to the struggle to cope in the pandemic.
RSPCA pet welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “We’re really concerned about the possible surge in the number of dogs being rehomed over coming months as a result of coronavirus.
“We understand that circumstances change and, sometimes, families are forced to make difficult decisions for their pets.
“If you need to rehome your pet we’d urge you never to advertise them ‘free to a good home’ online but, instead, to seek help or support from a reputable charity or rescue centre who can help guarantee that your pet finds a new home that meets their needs.”
The RSPCA has advice online about what to do if you need to give up your pet.