Britain faces a crisis of stray pets as cash-strapped owners dump their dogs and cats to save money.
Animal welfare chiefs are already struggling to house surging numbers of abandoned pets.
And with the cost of living crisis only expected to get worse, experts fear it will get much worse.
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The RSPCA said that last week a dedicated team were providing round-the-clock care to a litter of 11 new-born puppies who were found abandoned in a bin bag near Huddersfield.
It also told the Daily Star: “While our centres are close to capacity, we are still taking in the neediest animals and these will be going into private boarding at high expense to the charity while we wait for spaces to open up.
“We fear, however, that the crisis will lead to more animals being abandoned by their owners or being relinquished to charities who are already struggling to keep up with demand.
“The RSPCA has seen an increase in the number of visits to our webpage about ‘giving up pets’, rising 21% from 50,772 (first five months of 2020) to 61,467 (first five months of 2022).”
It also took in 49% more rabbits, 14% more cats and 3% more dogs in the first five months of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021.
Dogs Trust has already taken 13,000 calls from owners who need to give up their dogs in 2022 – a 58% increase on last year.
Chief exec Owen Sharp said: “We’re re-homing 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.”
Andrew Gillon of the National Animal Welfare Trust added: “For the first time, almost all of our centres have waiting lists for animals coming into us.
“Financial reasons are always central to why people have to relinquish their pets.”
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