Rehomed animals sent back
STAFF at a rescue shelter say an "unprecedented" number of animals are being returned as Britain's recession bites.
Staff at Hull Animal Welfare Trust says 15 cats and dogs have been returned to its Sunnydene Animal Shelter in South Cave since November.
They blame the crisis on economic hardship as people struggle financially.
Manager Amy Bryan said: "It's very rare for animals we have rehomed to be returned.
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"So it's heartbreaking and extremely disappointing to see this many animals coming back.
"In a lot of cases, people's circumstances are changing due to the recession.
"We would urge people to think very carefully before adopting an animal from us."
Amy said many of the animals who are rehomed have been neglected and deserve a new lease of life with loving new owners.
She said: "Animals that come to us for rehoming are never from perfect backgrounds.
"We do our very best to ensure they go to people able to look after them and thorough checks are carried out.
"But we could not have been expected to foresee the reasons given by people who are returning cats and dogs to us.
"We had one dog come back to us because the owners were moving into rented accommodation.
"Another dog came back because the owner was being forced to downsize and two cats were returned by a woman who was having a baby."
Amy said the rescue charity, which was formed in 1982, is morally obliged to take animals back in that have been returned, for whatever reason.
She said: "It's part of our policy to always accept an animal back, whether it's five weeks or five years after they've been rehomed.
"I would ask that people carefully work out if they can care for an animal before they adopt.
"They need to consider if they can afford one, too.
"When you take vet fees and food into account, they are not cheap."
Amy said the pets being returned are compounding problems at the shelter, which is running at full capacity.
Currently, the shelter has 80 cats and 30 dogs.
Anyone wanting to adopt a dog pays a £125 fee, while a cat costs £70.
Amy said: "We are still seeing a lot of kittens.
"A few years ago, there was a definite kitten season.
"But kittens are being born all year round now, which is causing problems.
"It's very important that people get their cats neutered."
Anyone able to adopt an animal should call 01430 423986 or visit www.hull animalwelfare.co.uk for further information.