Cost of living: Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home seeing 'dramatic increase' in surrender of pets as cost of living rises

Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home are taking in more and more pets, due to owners struggling with the cost of living.

Derek Stewart-Brown, Head of PR at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said he has seen “a dramatic increase” in the surrender of pets over the last few months. At the moment, the shelter is receiving up to half a dozen animals a day to look after.

Mr Stewart-Brown said that owners usually have multiple reasons for having to give up their pet – but the rising cost of living is a major one.

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"It’s very much a last resort”, he said. “It’s heartbreaking for the owner, and for us.”

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He added: “Sadly, I don't think the situation is going to get any better for the foreseeable future”.

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However, there is some ‘good’ news – Mr Stewart-Brown noted that people are still coming forward to re-home pets, in spite of the cost of living crisis.

The staff and volunteers at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home believe that financial hardship should not stop someone from owning a pet. Mr Brown said: “Pets are so good for our physical and mental health. We don’t think there should be barriers to owning a pet”.

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Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home has seen a "dramatic increase" in the number of pets being surrendered by owners.

As well as taking in dogs and cats, Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home run a Pet Food Bank. Since launching in 2019, the service has expanded rapidly, and now provides pet food and other essential items to 54 food banks across Central Scotland.

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According to Mr Stewart-Brown, demand for the service is growing “on a daily basis”. When Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home started the pet food bank, it cost around £2,000 a month to run – but now it is paying £10,000 monthly to keep food banks in supply.

While the rescue centre is currently coping with demand, Mr Stewart-Brown has asked the public for their support.

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“You can help in so many ways – you can re-home a pet, you can provide food for the food banks, or you can make a donation”, he said.

The rescue centre works with 54 foodbanks and community groups and provides essential pet food, collars, jackets, bedding and other care items to pet owners in need. Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, CEO at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said that while they are providing a vital service for the public, more needs to be done to solve the issues behind pet poverty. She said: “Where there is a pet in crisis, there is often a person in crisis. We believe that the companionship of a pet is unrivalled for human wellbeing and something that everyone who can provide a stable and loving home deserves. Unfortunately, we hear stories on a daily basis of people having to choose between feeding themselves or their much-loved pet, and those living in fear that anything will go wrong because they just can’t afford the vet fees. “Pet poverty is an indicator of how communities across the country and beyond are struggling to cope with the cost of daily life. We are proud to be helping thousands of pets and owners stay together each year, but we can’t solve this issue alone. Today we are supporting the Poverty Alliance’s call for changes to the benefits system so we can pack in pet poverty for good.” The Home’s campaign is part of Challenge Pover
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You can donate to Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home by visiting https://edch.org.uk/donate/