South Essex families having to rehome pets due to rising bills, charity warns

·2-min read
Kathy Butler manager of RSPCA Essex South, Southend & District Branch
Kathy Butler manager of RSPCA Essex South, Southend & District Branch

FAMILIES are being forced to rehome their beloved pets due to spiralling costs caused by the cost-of-living crisis, charity bosses have warned.

A number of leading animal organisations say the rise in food, fuel and energy prices is already hitting pet owners in south Essex hard.

The RSPCA Essex South, Southend & District Branch, based on West Street in Rochford, has revealed it has seen an increase in requests for help in recent weeks.

With the charity predicting it costs £50 a month to look after a small dog, they are encouraging people to think twice about the financial consequences before taking on a pet.

Branch manager Kathy Butler has revealed there has been particular demand for the charity's financial assistance fund to help pet owners cover their vet bills.

She said: “Locally, I’ve seen an increase in requests for financial assistance.

"We’ve also had increase in request for people wanting to rehome their animals because they’re frightened, they may not be able to afford them.

“Ultimately, people don’t want to part with their pets but they’re scared of the costs involved; the food has gone and the vet bills have gone up.”

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She added: “As yet, we’ve managed to support people without having to take a healthy animal in.

"It’s very sad because people don’t want to give up their animals but they’re that desperate they call the RSPCA for help."

The charity itself has not escaped issues caused by the crisis.

It has seen its own vet bills increase by 50 per cent and sometimes more compared to before the crisis began.

Other charities have expressed their concerns, with the Dogs Trust, who have a branch based on Nevendon Road in Wickford, fearing families who may have purchased dogs during lockdown are now starting to be feeling the pinch.

Operations director Adam Clowes said: “We need to ensure we’re prepared for the worst-case scenario; the possibility that yet more families might struggle to cope with dog ownership as the cost of living continues to rise.

“You need to consider all the expenses involved in looking after a dog such as food, dog walking services, veterinary bills or dog training classes, and whether you’d be able to afford to care for the dog should your circumstances change.”

To apply for the RSPCA’s financial fund visit: bit.ly/3M9IxkA.

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