Shelters are receiving an influx of animals as people give up their pets amid the cost of living crisis.
As grocery, fuel, and bill prices rise, in the UK, many people are being forced to make cutbacks at home. And for some, the extra cost of a companion animal just isn’t manageable anymore.
Jo Evans, who manages a shelter for the RSPCA near Exeter, told the BBC that people are struggling to pay for vet bills, in particular. This has been going on for some time. Last year, the RSPCA revealed it received more than 3,600 calls for vet bill assistance. This was a 12 percent increase from 2020.
“We are beginning to see people say they just can’t afford to own an animal so they have to rehome it,” said Evans, before noting that people should take the time to understand the cost involved before they take on a new pet.
According to Pet Keen, roughly 2.7 million animals already enter shelters in the UK annually. Most of them are dogs or cats, but other animals, like fish and small mammals, are taken in by shelters too.
It adds that shelters are often stretched financially. With the cost of living crisis, this is getting worse too.
The pandemic pet boom
In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, millions of households in the UK bought or adopted a new pet. For some, this was because their new working from home arrangement made having an animal companion easier.
But since 2021, more than three million households have given up animals.
“We understand that circumstances can change and, sometimes, this leaves families having to make the heartbreaking decision to give up their pets,” Dr. Samantha Graines, a welfare expert for the RSPCA, told the Independent earlier this year.
“However, we also know that animals are often signed over to charities, rehomed, or even abandoned because people took on a pet without the necessary research or appreciation of the responsibility and commitment.”