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Friday, July 19, 2024
Pets & AnimalsRSPCA rehoming centres at breaking point as animals arrive faster than they...

RSPCA rehoming centres at breaking point as animals arrive faster than they leave

The RSPCA has put out a plea for the public to consider adopting a pet rather than buying, as private boarding is costing the charity £500,000 per month.

The charity – the oldest of its kind, and celebrating its 200th anniversary this year – says the cost of living crisis has left rescue centres facing an ‘animal welfare crisis’ as animals are coming into its care faster than they are being adopted.

Currently, more than 1,400 animals are waiting in private boarding centres because RSPCA centres are full.

In the first four months of 2024, it cost the RSPCA an eye-watering £2.1 million to provide care for hundreds of animals in private boarding centres because its own are already at capacity. Of that total, almost £1.2 million went into kennelling hundreds of dogs because there wasn’t any space left in any of the RSPCA’s dedicated centres and branches.

The animal welfare charity is increasingly having to rely on private boarding to look after animals in need, and that comes at a huge cost. The RSPCA currently has 1,441 animals in private boarding, costing in the region of £500,000 a month – or approximately £125,000 per week. That includes 503 dogs – costing more than £50,000 each week – as well as 126 rabbits, 201 cats, 285 horses, 58 exotic animals and 126 farm animals.

Karen Colman, head of animal logistics and welfare oversight at the RSPCA, said: “As we celebrate our 200th birthday this year, it’s incredible to see how far animal welfare has come since our founding in 1824. But the sad reality is that there’s still so much to do, and we’re currently facing an animal welfare crisis. Our rescue and rehoming centres are at breaking point with the number of animals coming in versus the number being rehomed.

“Sadly, more animals in need are coming into us all the time – many who have been the victims of awful cruelty, abuse and neglect – and rehoming rates have struggled in recent years as many families feel the pinch of the cost of living crisis and make the decision not to take on a pet.

“We’re launching an urgent appeal to those families who do feel they commit to the cost and responsibility of a pet to please consider adopting a rescue instead of buying from a breeder or a pet shop. We have hundreds of animals in our care with so much love to give, they just need a chance.”

The cost of living crisis hits hard

The cost of living crisis is seriously impacting pet owners as well as animal rescue organisations.

Dr Samantha Gaines, head of the RSPCA Companion Animals Team, added: “Sadly we’re seeing more animals coming into our care and more pet owners turning to us for help because of the increasing costs of owning a pet, including the cost of food and vet bills.

“The cost of living has also led to a reduction in the number of people who are willing to take on an animal as they try to save money, and a recent RSPCA survey found 72% of people were not planning to get a new pet.

“But the crisis is also hitting animal rescue organisations, like the RSPCA. Our food bills have soared, our energy bills to keep the lights and heating on in our centres have also rocketed, and animals are staying with us for longer as fewer people are adopting, which means spaces in our centres are becoming available less often and we need more and more private boarding spaces. It’s quickly becoming a serious welfare crisis.”


Helen Greaney
Helen Greaney
I'm a journalist with more than 18 years' experience on local, regional and national newspapers, as well as PR and digital marketing. Crime and the courts is my specialist area but I'm also keen to hear your stories concerning Manchester and the greater North West region.
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