Owners of an animal sanctuary in Brinsley are calling for tighter regulation on breeding after rescuing – and being forced to turn away – a record number of animals in 2013.
Jon Beresford and Beth Hewis who run Brinsley Animal Sanctuary want stricter rules and regulations for breeding and selling pets after rescuing 1,240 animals, and turning away more than 500.
Mr Beresford said: “We have a non-destruct policy and as we have limited time, space and funds, we can only admit animals, as we re-home and create space. “Despite a record number of animals taken in last year we unfortunately had to turn away a record number, as we simply did not have the resources.
“We need tighter regulation to force the pet industry to take greater responsibility.
“Why does the industry continue to breed so many pets when rescues are full to bursting? Why do they sell pets unneutered, simply adding to the overpopulation?,” questioned Mr Beresford.
Ms Hewis said pets were treated as ‘disposable commodities’ and described the problem as a ‘national epidemic’.
“It was very upsetting turning away so many unwanted pets and the situation is simply getting worse. It is all too easy for people to get a pet from a pet shop or breeder, then expect us to take it on a few weeks later. Sadly society treats pets as a disposable commodity.
“We are only a small animal sanctuary so we see the tip of a very big iceberg. Nationally the problem is simply an epidemic”.
The couple rescued 51 pets, 920 farm animals and 269 wild animals during last year, and had to turn away 532 animals including 134 rabbits, 94 pet pigs and over 200 other pets.
Among the rescued animals were a rabbit that had been wrapped in a bin liner and dumped in a bin, and two goats which were dumped in woods with their tags ripped from their ears so the owner couldn’t be traced.
The couple run the 22 acre sanctuary on a voluntary basis.
Ms Hewis appealed to people looking to buy a pet to visit their local rescue centre first.
“Too many people choose baby rabbits, kittens and puppies from breeders, yet there are tens of thousands of unwanted healthy animals in rescue centres up and down the county, desperate for loving homes.
“I would urge people looking for a pet to visit their local rescue centre, and owners to take more responsibility and ensure their pets are neutered to prevent unwanted pets being born,” she said.