For many years, the brilliant Hope Rescue Charity based in Llanharan has been saving the lives of stray, abandoned and unwanted dogs that, through no fault of their own, need a second chance. They also provide a rehoming service, helping owners in times of crisis, along with many other services.
Since 2005 the Charity has worked through many challenges, but continued to provide an essential service, helping thousands of animals, and pet owners. I have visited the Centre many times over the years and the work they do there is something special.
During my latest visit to the Centre with Bridgend MS Sarah Murphy, the Charity discussed their struggle to keep up with rising costs, from utility bills to vet’s bills etc. along with many animal welfare challenges they are facing – intake at the Centre has nearly doubled since pre-pandemic levels.
The Welsh Government’s ambition is for all animals in Wales to have a good quality life and animal welfare features prominently in the Programme for Government, providing an opportunity for us to build on all we have achieved since animal health and welfare powers were devolved to Wales in 2006. The Hope Rescue Charity staff were very appreciative of the Welsh Government’s ongoing efforts towards animal welfare/protection legislation but were increasingly concerned at the surge of pet owners approaching them who are unable to continue taking care of their pets due to the rising cost of living.
The unwanted forced separations cause extreme distress to both animals and pet-owners and I’m sure these heart-breaking situations are being reflected right across the country.
The rising cost of living is having a dramatic effect on people’s finances and many pet owners are worried about ongoing costs of owning a pet, such as vet’s bills, insurance, food, maintenance and care, to name a few. Whilst many people in our towns and communities are facing the stark choice between ‘heating or eating’, they are forced into extreme budgeting with priority lists. Their beloved pets are also becoming a casualty of the Tory cost of living crisis.
Pet ownership is not a luxury for some, and for many vulnerable people living in our communities, it can be a lifeline to helping with loneliness and poor mental health. As such it is essential that help and support is available.
If you are a pet owner facing these tough decisions, please reach out to the many advice organisations or animal welfare charities that can guide and support you through this worrying time. There may be help available of which you are not aware: https://www.hoperescue.org.uk/Pages/Category/i-need-help-with-my-dog