THE owners of an animal sanctuary in Brinsley have said 2011 was their worst year yet for taking in unwanted pets.
Jon Beresford and Beth Hewis who run Brinsley Animal Sanctuary said they rescued a record number of cats, rabbits and even micro pigs and had to turn many away.
Ms Hewis said: “Despite our many successes, it is very upsetting for us turning away so many unwanted pets. 2011 has been our worst ever year for unwanted pets particularly cats, rabbits and even pigs.
“There has been a fad lately to keep micro pigs, but what people don’t realise is a micro pig is not a recognised breed.
“They are actually just runts and often grow into full size pigs. We resucued one that was being kept in a bunglaow and was ripping the floors up.”
Ms Hewis went on to say that in one of the worst weeks, they had to turn away over 40 animals including 14 pigs being kept as pets.
She put the increase in numbers down to the economical climate and irresponsible breeding.
“People treat pets as disposable items and they will get rid of them before cutting down on things like holidays.
“It’s also over-breeding. We turned away about 200 rabbits last year, but you open the paper and they are all over the place.”
The couple opened the sanctuary four years ago and each year rescue more and more animals.
During 2011 they took in 859 animals – 131 pets, 488 farm animals and 240 wild animals.
The sanctuary needs to raise £30,000 each year to pay for food and treatment bills, and does so by holding two open days, one in the summer and one in the winter, and from donations.
Last year £7,000 was raised at the two open days, £4,000 was raised by a charity shop in Ripley and the rest came from individual donations.
Mr Beresford and Ms Hewis are mid-way through turning one of the rooms at the four acre property into a small hospital so they can treat minor ailments themselves and save on vet bills.
The sanctuary is based in Hobsic Close.