Pets being abandoned by owners facing money problems

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Media captionHenry, a four-year-old shih tzu-pomeranian cross, is looking for a new home

An animal rescue centre says it has seen a significant rise in pets being abandoned because their owners are facing financial hardship.

Bridgend Animal Rescue Centre (Barc) in North Cornelly expects to see a 25% increase this year with owners unable to afford to keep their animals.

The centre has also seen a sharp rise in demand for their pet food bank.

Last year, 117 animals were rescued by the centre but in 2018-2019 that figure was reached by 1 September.

Rebecca Lloyd, managing director of Barc, said: "We've got animals at the centre at the moment because their owners can't afford medical treatment for them. So we've had to take them in.

"Just last night we had a call from a member of the community whose cat was very unwell during giving birth and the owner couldn't afford medical treatment so we took the cat to the vet because she was close to death.

"That ended up costing £600 but the owner couldn't afford that or even vet's medical insurance to cover herself.

"But it's not just medical treatment, it's also supplies such as food, baskets and blankets and we have those here too at our food bank."

Image caption Welfare officer Paula Evans with a rabbit called Willow whose teeth were overgrown

The centre is one of a small number of organisations in Wales to provide the service.

Mrs Lloyd said some pet owners cannot even afford to feed themselves, let alone their animals.

"People who access regular food banks can be referred to us and we can deliver to that food bank, but we also take self-referrals for short-term issues, if someone has lost their job or has fallen ill unexpectedly," she added.

"The economy in this area is far from great. There's a lot of unemployment, there's a lot of young people out of work here and we provide courses for them too in our training centre.

"There is a big need for this animal rescue centre."

The RSPCA said it had received 1,371 reports of abandoned or dumped animals across Wales so far this year.

"We will never truly know why people abandon animals - as every circumstance is different, and the reasons are likely to be plentiful," a spokesman said.

"Sadly, when owners are unable to cope, whether that be with an animal's behaviour, the costs of keeping the pet or other things in their life take over, they sometimes opt to abandon them.

"Owning an animal can be so rewarding - but the number of abandonments shows that for some, the commitment can be overbearing."

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