Animal shelters feel cost of living pinch as people find pets too expensive to keep

The financial stretch of inflation is now being felt in animal shelters, with many people finding pets too expensive to keep. 

But it's not just dogs and cats, turtles, pigs and goats are also being put up for adoption.

Animal shelters around the country are inundated with even more animals than 2022.

"We've got a bit of a bottleneck at the moment with more animals coming in than we can find appropriate homes for," HUHA (Helping You Help Animals) wildlife and rural animal response lead Jonathan Lambregts told Newshub.

Lambregts said the rescue centre he helps currently has around 40 pigs, 18 goats and around 30 horses and ponies.

"The cost of living crisis that's happening at the moment, people just aren't really able to afford things like large animals as pets."

Big or small animals cost a lot of money, and breeders wanting to make a buck are struggling to find homes.  

Some people buy animals with the idea of them paying their way. Some chickens are purchased to lay eggs, but if they don't lay, people don't want them anymore and they end up at a shelter in need of a new home.

Desexing was optional during lockdowns. That, plus the steep cost of living, has made it a low priority for many.

"It doesn't take long for it to spiral out of control. One litter of kittens turns into four litters of kittens a year later," SPCA's foster and volunteer team leader Jaz Crowther told Newshub.

Lambregts said recurring severe weather events are also a factor. 

"That's putting a lot of people off having these animals in areas that are particularly prone to these things happening."

Crowther also said the SPCA is also currently struggling with the post-Christmas kitten explosion.

"People are getting into a situation where they're not sure what to do and unfortunately, the animals suffer for that."

Leaving many families too poor for four paws.