Photo credit: Lola’s Sanctuary/Facebook | BBC
Poonam Doshi, who opened the sanctuary in 2017, said she had seen a huge spike in demand.
An animal sanctuary is “at breaking point” and on the brink of closure due to the cost of living crisis.
Lola’s Sanctuary has not received a new donation in four months, yet is seeing more animals than ever in need of care.
Poonam Doshi, the founder, said she had “never seen the situation this bad”.
The shelter’s utility bills have doubled, and Ms Doshi expects they will increase further during the winter when the animals need to spend more time indoors.
The sanctuary’s vet bills are up to £5,000 per month.
Ms Doshi said: “Not knowing where the next donation is going to come from, or whether it is actually going to come has meant that I have had to make some incredibly difficult decisions on what animals we can care for.
“We simply cannot afford to continue without donations. We are at breaking point.”
The sanctuary, based in Crawley, is 100% non-profit and relies on volunteers to keep it running.
With people having to go back to paid work, the team of volunteers has decreased from 15 to five and fosterers have gone down from 12 to just one.
The cost of food, pet insurance and vet bills has meant shelters are struggling to cope with a rise in admissions as owners can no longer afford to keep their pets.
Ms Doshi said: “It is an absolutely heartbreaking situation, a lot of these people don’t want to give up their pet but it’s a choice between being able to feed their family, heat their home or give up their animal.
“For some people, especially older people, their companion animal is their only friend so the fact that they are being forced to surrender their pets just so they can stay warm this winter is just devastating.”
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