Britain’s rescue centres are on the brink of an animal welfare crisis with many of its centres ‘full or close to capacity’
Overstretched rescue centres are having to turn dogs and cats away and put them on waiting lists, as the cost of living crisis forces growing numbers of households to give up their pets.
While inflation has soared to a 40-year high of 9.1 per cent, the cost of some animal essentials has climbed at an even steeper rate, notably dog food, which has risen in price by more than 16.75 per cent over a year.
Andrew Gillon, director of operations at the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT), which operates five rehoming centres in the south of England, said “For the first time, almost all of our centres actually have waiting lists for animals coming into us.
“Financial reasons are always central to why people have to relinquish their pets, so with the added pressures of the cost of living crisis we are seeing, and will continue to see, people unable to look after their animals.
“Most people are absolutely heartbroken when they have to give up their pet. We will never judge, and always support people who try to do the best for the animal. It’s a horrible situation.”
“We’re starting to see the knock-on effects of this as we, and other charities, predicted. Tragically we’re starting to see an increase in the abandonment of pets and growing numbers of cats and dogs being rescued and coming into our care.”
Miracle’s Mission, a charity that rescues and rehomes sick, injured and disabled animals have a lengthy waiting list due to fewer people adopting.
Paul Christian, Patron of the charity, says there the number of referrals are rising but due to fewer people willing to foster or adopt they cannot take any more.
We have a long waiting list of dogs and cats looking for foster homes. We are looking for foster carers to take care of dogs and cats until we can find them their forever homes.
“We’re rehoming and fostering dogs as quickly as we can – but as soon as we free up a kennel space, there’s a dog to fill it again,” he added.
While national organisations are able to make use of vacancies across their network, smaller charities like Miracle’s Mission have no choice but to add pets to a lengthy queue.
Families across Britain are grappling with high fuel bills, record petrol prices and rocketing food costs, as inflation hit a level last seen in 1982.
According to animal charities, it costs £50 to £70 a month to own a dog, while cats cost an average of £80 per month
Despite the costs, more Britons than ever are pet owners. March data from the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) suggests that more than 3.2 million people in the UK had acquired an animal since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, and 17 million UK households were responsible for a total of 34 million pets.
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