Pet owners struggling to look after animals amid cost of living crisis

Charities expect to see an increase in the number of people seeking help and advice over the festive period.

Animal charities in the north east are warning that more pets will need their help this winter, as the cost of living crisis continues to bite.

The World Horse Welfare Centre in Aboyne says an increasing number of owners are struggling to look after their animals.

Eileen Cruden who manages the Aberdeenshire centre, told STV News: “Across our four centres in the UK, we’ve seen a big increase in the amount of welfare cases coming into our centres.

“When we’re talking about welfare cases it can sound a bit doom and gloom. But we’re talking about multiple cases here – not just two or three horses; it can be ten, 20 or even more.”

The National Equine Welfare Council says its national helpline has seen an 80% increase in the number of horse owners calling for advice because they’re struggling to afford their animals.  

As we head into the winter months, charities like World Horse Welfare are expecting that to increase further, but say help is at hand.

Ms Cruden added: “If someone gets into trouble, we’d rather them call us and we’ll see what we can do to help, but we can’t take everyone in.

“People need to remember that a horse is a horse. If you have one, you need to be able to provide for veterinary and farrier costs as well as forage like hay.

“We want to work with horse owners to make sure they can keep their animals.”

Meanwhile in Aberdeen, Mrs Murray’s Home for Cats and Dogs is also seeing an increase in the number of owners unable to look after their pets, as well as animals who have never been seen by a vet.

Stacey Tallis, the charity’s assistant manager, said: “The animals we’re seeing now need medical treatment, a lot of dogs aren’t neutered, they haven’t had any vaccinations, microchips and they need their teeth done.

“This makes the process longer and animals are staying at the centre for longer than they once would.

“All of this puts extra pressure on us meaning that we use more food, and pay for more vet treatments, our costs are going up too.”

In the run up to Christmas, the charity expects more cats and dogs to come in, and say any donations are grateful received.

Ms Tallis added: ”We always welcome donations if people are able to give whether those are physical or monetary, vet bills are skyrocketing, and we’re always looking for food donations for our cats and dogs.”

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