A Yorkshire branch of the RSPCA has said the cost of living crisis is so severe that it is now seeing people hand over their pets every single day.
The Leeds, Wakefield and District Branch of the animal charity admitted roughly one pet owner a week used to give up their pets due to the financial strain of looking after them. It is now happening practically every single day.
“We used to get one email a week from a member of the public who would ask us to help them,” said Megan Rattray, RSPCA animal care manager.
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“It has now increased, so we are getting probably seven or eight emails almost every week asking for help in terms of handing their animals over to us to rehome.
“We get a lot of people who are absolutely sobbing because they are having to give over their cat or any animal. It’s a member of their family.
“It’s a tough decision, but with the cost of living it’s affecting them in terms of who comes first and what comes first. Food, electricity, their animal. It’s very difficult for them so they are extremely upset.”
The West Yorkshire centre, based near Wakefield, is now at full capacity. There are 40 cats on site and 15 dogs looking for homes, but the demand is ramping up.
Energy bills skyrocketed after the Government increased the annual cap by £700 a year, while the price of food, fuel and everyday essentials has also jumped up. It has forced many pet owners to make heart-wrenching decisions.
“It is distressing to see and it’s distressing for the animal aswell when they do come in,” said Megan. “You can tell they are upset by something and it’s most likely going to be the fact they have been taken away from their home.”
Six-month-old Eunice was recently handed over to the RSPCA. Her owners had rescued the kitten and her brother after finding them dumped at the side of the road.
However, Eunice requires ongoing treatment for a medical condition and her owners simply couldn’t afford her vet bills. “They wanted to keep them, but then they couldn’t afford the vet bills because of how expensive they are,” said Megan.
“It was the same time as the increase of energy bills so they just couldn’t afford everything really.”
For more information about the RSPCA or how you can adopt animals, visit the RSPCA Leeds, Wakefield & District branch website.