By Harriet Thacker
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons by tuija2005
Animals could be left out in the cold this Christmas as charities warn they cannot afford to help abandoned pets and injured wildlife.
Many animal charities in Brighton have now said that they are full up and do not have the funds to take any more animals into their care.
Government cuts have meant that families can longer afford to keep expensive pets and are less likely to rehome animals and give donations to animal charities.
Expensive cattery and kennel fees have also meant people have not found proper care for their pets when going away over Christmas.
Ron Ayres from Lost Cats Brighton said: “We see a big rise in the number of abandoned cats, some have been presents but most have wandered off because they have been left uncared for while the owners are away.”
Ron has said it can cost him up to £60 per cat he rescues in food, shelter and vets bills but without donations and cats being rehomed it becomes very difficult.
At this festive time of year people are still buying pets for Christmas even though statistics show that 53% of children tire of their present after 4 weeks.
Hannah Baker, Press Officer at the Dog’s Trust said: “To help discourage people from thoughtlessly buying dogs as Christmas presents, the charity’s 17 Rehoming Centers will stop rehoming dogs from 19th December to 2nd January. People will still be able to visit the centers and reserve a dog, but will not be able to take it home until the New Year.”
It is not just pets that suffer over the winter season, wildlife is also affected. The first frosts bring a rise in the number of baby hedgehogs, or hoglets, that need rescuing and keeping until the spring.
Roger Musselle from Roger’s Wildlife Rescue, Brighton said: “We rely on donations but since the downturn in the economy we have lost around a third of our members. This is almost drastic.”
The RSPCA are also getting behind wild animals this Christmas and have launched a gift scheme to benefit wildlife through the winter.
Sophie Adwick, RSPCA Wildlife Scientist said: “The treatment we offer to wild animals will vary according to the species and the problem, but the care we provide can definitely be enhanced through the extra funding our virtual gifts raise. So these Christmas presents really can make a difference.”
Gifts include £10 to cover one night’s bed and breakfast for a lost cat or dog or £40 to get a pair of cow “shoofs”: breathable shoe bandages for a lame cows hooves.