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'Avalanche' of pets see in new year homeless

posted 2 Jan 2009, 05:48 by myEdinburgh Admin   [ updated 2 Jan 2009, 05:51 ]
Rescue centre pleas for new owners to look after animals.

An animal rescue centre in the Capital is bursting at the seams with unwanted pets facing the prospect of a lonely start to the new year.

It could all be down to consumers, who are tightening their purse strings, having no spare cash to even consider rehoming an abandoned animal.

The SSPCA's Edinburgh and Lothians Animal Rescue and Rehoming Centre, based at Mansfield, Balerno, has taken in an "avalanche" of pets over the festive period, currently caring for almost 200 animals.

But assistant manager at the centre, Kenny Sharpe, said very few of the pets were being rehomed due to a lack of people visiting the centre recently.

He said: "It may be that the credit crunch is making people think twice about taking on a new pet and we wouldn't encourage anyone to take on an animal if they think they might not be able to afford to look after it in the long run.

"As well as the initial outlay for bedding, toys, food bowls, etc, there are also ongoing maintenance costs such as food and vet's bills, so people do need to take all of this into account."

Among the residents at the centre are 34 dogs, 26 cats, 18 rabbits, eight horses and 13 rodents – including gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats and mice.

There are also 16 budgies, 16 fish, six ferrets/polecats, 13 snakes, three terrapins, two reptiles, 12 insects and two spiders.

Californian king snake Pepper was found as a stray in Edinburgh and is looking for an experienced owner with a good sized vivarium.

Reggie the rat was also abandoned in the Capital. He was described by the centre as "a happy wee fella who enjoys being handled and playing in his cage". He also loves curling up in a ball for a snooze.

Mr Sharpe said: "We're desperate for potential new owners to come forward and offer these animals a loving new home.

"Anyone that does come is usually looking for a puppy or a kitten but we have lots of older animals who deserve a loving home just as much.

"We're very keen that anyone who is looking for a new pet comes and visits us because we are packed to the rafters right now."

However, Mr Sharpe was keen to stress that the centre is only looking for responsible pet owners.

He said: "We always encourage responsible pet ownership. It's essential that anyone interested in rehoming an animal ensures they have the time, energy and resources to care for it properly.

"There must be people out there like this. Maybe they just haven't considered rescuing an animal before.

"We have lots of different kinds of animals here – some that are fairly low maintenance and others that will require more time and resources – so it is really about matching the right person to the right animal."

The centre is open from Tuesday to Sunday, between 10am and 4pm.

• Anyone interested in rehoming an animal should visit www.scottishspca.org or call 03000 999 999.


By LAURA CUMMINGS

Source: Edinburgh Evening News
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