DESPERATE volunteers at a struggling animal shelter in Allerton Bywater say they have seen a “colossal” increase in the number of cats and kittens being dumped by their owners.
Staff at Ponderosa Kennels and Cattery on Ninevah Lane, claim it has more than 60 felines looking for new homes after being left at the shelter– more than expected at this time of year.
Michael Banks, treasurer, said: “I wouldn’t say in the increase has been huge – it’s been colossal.
“I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years and I’ve never known things to be so bad.
“They say we’re a nation of animal lovers, but it seems a lot of people are abandoning their pets at the moment.”
The shelter issues an annual appeal to help rehouse abandoned pets at Christmas – when it is traditionally at its busiest.
But Mr Banks said this year the rush has been “constant” and it has been forced to turn animals away.
He added: “It’s not just cats and kittens – we used to get one rabbit every six months or so, but now we’re getting weekly calls asking if we can take them in.
“We’ve also seen an increase in the number of pitbull terriers being brought here.
“I think it’s the credit crunch – there’s definitely been an increase in the number of pets being abandoned.
“ I don’t know why we’re seeing such an increase over the summer though. It might be that people are going on holiday and don’t know what to do with their pets.
“While we’re full we’re having to turn people away and it’s a difficult situation for us.
“The animals we have at the moment are desperate for new homes and we’d urge anyone interested in re-homing a pet should come in and see us.”
Anyone interested in owning an abandoned dog or cat, or who wants to make a donation to the shelter, can contact the centre on 01977 552303.