Battersea Rescues Abandoned Dog Left in an Alley With Heart-Rending Letter

22 Jan 2024

A young dog found straying alone in an alley with an emotional note from her previous owner explaining they could no longer keep her as their landlord no longer allowed pets has since been taken in and rehomed by Battersea. 

Nine-month-old Lilo was brought to the charity’s London centre a few weeks ago by a local dog warden, who had found the anxious puppy abandoned down a backstreet in the Battersea area. When approaching Lilo, the warden was surprised to find a note from her broken-hearted previous owner, who was left with no other choice but to give her away. The emotional letter explained how, despite doing everything they could to keep Lilo in their home, they could no longer do so as their landlord had changed their mind and no longer wanted them to keep the animal on their property. 

After reading the message from Lilo’s owner urging her finder to “find her a good home where she is free and happy”, the warden brought her to Battersea’s centre, knowing the staff would do everything in their power to find Lilo the right new home.  

Lilo was visibly stressed by the sudden changes in her environment and the experience she had been through. However, after getting acclimated to her new surroundings, Lilo was quick to show the staff her true personality. Much like her previous owner had described her, Lilo was found to be a loving and obedient young dog, who befriends everyone she sees, getting wiggly and excited when people pass by and loving all the attention.  

Lilo has since been rehomed and is settling really well with her new owners who feel “very lucky to have her”.

Approximately one in ten pets are brought to Battersea because their previous owners either could not find anywhere to rent that would accept their pet, or because their landlord had told them they could no longer keep them. Pet ownership is vital to many people’s physical and mental health, whether it’s the companionship that pets provide, or the opportunity to get outdoors and meet other people. Battersea believes that pet ownership should be available irrespective of an owner’s housing status.

The share of UK households occupied by private renters has almost doubled in the last two decades. However, Battersea research revealed a marked imbalance between the UK’s aspirations of pet ownership and the availability of suitable housing. It found that whilst 76 per cent of tenants already own or aspire to take on a pet in the future, according to Zoopla just 8 per cent of private landlords list their properties as allowing pets.  

Furthermore, research conducted by Mars Petcare revealed that one in ten pet-owning tenants are currently hiding an animal from their landlord and of those who had been caught out by a landlord for hiding a pet, 22 per cent were then evicted from their homes. The barriers to pet ownership are of great concern to Battersea, with owners in situations which force them to give up either a much-loved pet or the idea of acquiring one in the first place.  

Michael Webb, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Battersea said: “Difficulty in accessing pet friendly rental accommodation is, unfortunately, one of the most common reason Battersea sees owners bringing their pet to the charity for rehoming”.

In May 2023, the Government introduced the long-awaited Renters’ Reform Bill in Parliament. The legislation will make it possible for renters in England to request pets and landlords will no longer be able to unreasonably deny this request. In addition, landlords will have the power to ask renters to take out insurance against any potential damage their pets might cause.

Michael continues: “Battersea welcomes the legislation, which takes a step towards recognising the importance of pet ownership and its role in supporting the physical and mental health of owners. However, despite the bill passing its second reading in September, there is still work to be done before the law changes and more renters and their pets can live happily together. As this Bill follows its long journey through Parliament, we look forward to continuing to work with the Housing department and the rental industry more broadly to help ensure a fairer rental sector for pets and people alike.”

The charity is working to ensure that the legislation helps more people experience the many benefits and joys of pet ownership and needs the public’s continued help to make sure this happens. Members of the public can show their support by signing the charity’s pledge for more pet-friendly properties and help send the message that people and pets belong together here


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Notes to editors  

  • At Battersea we offer our love and expert care to dogs and cats who need us by rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals at our centres, and by sharing our knowledge and resources with rescue organisations around the world. We do this because we want to help every dog and cat, everywhere.  
  • In 2022 Battersea directly cared for 2,278 dogs and 2,253 cats at our three centres. We also helped thousands more through our Communities programme, campaigning work, supporting other rescues and animal welfare advocates, and sharing knowledge and advice with pet owners.
  • In addition to the site in South West London, Battersea also has two other centres based at Old Windsor, Berkshire and Brands Hatch, Kent.
  • To find out more visit our website or follow Battersea on Twitter @battersea_, Instagram @battersea or