Britons give up their pets as living costs soar

STORY: Meet Harriet the English cocker spaniel.

She was found running along a busy road in London after witnesses say she was pushed out of a car, abandoned.

And she's a possible victim of the worsening cost-of-living crisis that a leading animal charity says has led to a growing number of people to part with their pets.

Harriet is now one of hundreds of dogs and cats currently being looked after by England's famous Battersea charity.

And similar centers around the country say they are seeing record inquiries for dog and cat returns.

The tightest squeeze on living standards since at least the 1960s is forcing many owners to decide the additional cost of food and vet bills isn't manageable.

Steve Craddock is the center manager.

"We are seeing an increase in the animals that people are wanting to give in to Battersea of up to 30 percent from last year. Whilst we don’t have any specific data we are seeing that some of these animals are because people are no longer able to look after them, they’re no longer able to afford their care, particularly things like veterinary care."

"One particular case is Magpie. She’s a cat that’s come into Battersea Dogs and Cats Home just this week. Magpie has been brought in by its owner because it’s become pregnant and the owners no longer able to afford to care for Magpie or her kittens once they’re born."

The trend follows a surge in demand for pets during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

It also comes amid warnings of recession, and as UK households are dealing with a massive crisis in their energy bills. They are set to triple in January, and some charities have warned it could put millions of people into poverty.

Dogs Trust currently has 692 dogs needing homes in centres across the country,

It said the last time it had seen anything like this was in the wake of the 2008 financial crash.

For now, it means plenty of fluffy faces are just hoping someone can give them a permanent home.