New TV documentary highlights how pets and animal charities are suffering due to soaring vet bills during cost of living crisis

A new documentary about pets in the cost of living crisis airs on Shots TV, Freeview channel 236 (Photo: Lucinda Herbert)
A new documentary about pets in the cost of living crisis airs on Shots TV, Freeview channel 236 (Photo: Lucinda Herbert)

The programme looks at the struggles being experienced by pet owners as the cost of living crisis squeezes household budgets.

Blackpool Gazette reporter, Lucinda Herbert, visits some of the animal shelters on the Fylde Coast to find out how they are coping.

In the video, now available on ShotsTV, charity bosses explain that more people are giving up their pets due to soaring vet bills and food costs.

Homeless Hounds have three dog rescue centres in Lancashire. Jill Maxwell-Carr, a volunteer dog walker at their Blackpool branch, tells Lucinda: “People can’t afford their dogs, so the only way is to bring them into the kennels. The food bills keep going up. People can’t afford the vet bills so a lot of dogs who have ill-health go untreated. You can see a difference in how many are coming in because of the cost of living.”

She also meets some of the cats up for rehoming, at Tenderpaws Cat Rescue.

The charity say they are now ‘full to bursting’ – with more cats being surrendered but less people coming forward to adopt.

Christina 'Kiwi' Walsh, a trustee, said: "I think more people are choosing to have less cats because of the costs of everything. They might stop at one or two. We have so many beautiful cats needing homes, and the more we find homes for the more space we have to help more cats.”

Lucinda, a community news reporter for Thornton Cleveleys, also shares some advice on where struggling pet owners can turn for help.

One of the scenes is filmed at Happy Pets Food Bank, where Jennifer Endresz says: “It’s ridiculous that people are actually having to starve themselves to feed their animals. [We] see people crying, absolutely heartbroken because they don’t feel they can offer their pet what they need. Anyone can hit a rough patch and we want to be there to help."

READ MORE: Pet owners go without essentials to feed their animals as food and vet prices soar.

Lucinda set out to do the documentary, after hearing from various people in the community who were experiencing difficulties paying their vet bills.

Lucinda told Blackpool Gazette: “There was so much awareness about how the rising food and energy costs were putting the squeeze on families, especially last winter. However, I saw very little about how the crisis was impacting pet owners.

As someone with a mental health condition, my dogs have been essential to my recovery and wellbeing. They are so much more than just pets, and I would be lost without them. It upset me to think that others – especially those who have pets for emotional support or therapeutic purposes – were being told to give up their pets because they can’t afford them or they have to move into a property where pets aren’t allowed.

The knock-on effect of this, as you will see in the documentary, is that shelters are swamped with more pets – I imagine many have been given up reluctantly and under heartbreaking circumstances that could have been prevented if they knew where to turn for help.”

The documentary will be aired on ShotsTV – Freeview channel 236. It is also available online at this link.