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Bristol appeal as cost of living linked to rise in neglect cases

Animal rescue centres in the west of England say they are continuing to see a big increase in the number of unwanted and neglected pets.

Supervisor Rachel Serjeant said lurcher Hector's recent arrival at Bristol Animal Rescue Centre "brought tears" to her eyes because he was so thin.

The centre said animal abandonments had risen by 25% and continue to rise.

Manager Jodie Hayward said the cost of living crisis "remains one of the greatest threats to animal welfare".

"It stops people looking after their pets the way they would like to," she said.

Dog Cici is one of 120 rescue animals at the Bath Cats and Dogs Home and staff at the rescue centre said demand is soaring.

Cici the dog looking at the camera at the rescue centre
Cici is a three-year-old dog who was found on the streets

Cici was picked up as a stray at three-years-old after being abandoned when she contracted a skin infection.

"She has had a particularly rough start to life, she would love to be a lap dog, she loves cuddles," said Julie Stone, head of animal operations at the centre.

"It would be great if she could be part of a loving family."

Julie Stone pictured with a rescued cat
Julie Stone said she has never seen so many abandoned pets at the centre

Senior animal behaviourist Zita Polgar said it is a "really difficult time for rescue centres right now".

"The number of dogs arriving with pre-existing issues is higher than ever," she said.

"To address these challenges, rescue centres like ours are having to extend rehabilitation periods," added Ms Polgar.

Ms Serjeant said lurcher Hector had been found wandering the streets of Bristol.

"He was very scared and confused when he first arrived here and it took a long time for him to be able to trust people," Ms Serjeant said

After undergoing a rehabilitation and behaviour programme, Hector is now ready for a new home.

The centre hopes its new appeal will raise enough extra money to see it through the winter period, when it usually sees an increase in abandonments.

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