A Taunton animal shelter has seen its waiting list soar as owners give up their pets in the face of rising bills.
St Giles Animal Centre is currently full with a further 65 animals waiting for a place there.
About half of the dogs in the shelter were bought during lockdown, with many lacking basic social skills.
Jack Linnell, St Giles’ director, warned the problem was likely to get worse as the cost-of-living crisis deepens.
Pet food bank
Speaking to BBC West, Mr Linnell said: “Obviously everyone was looking to adopt and buy puppies throughout lockdown.
“We are now seeing lots of rescue animals coming to the centre that are two or three years old that haven’t had the socialisation they needed two many years ago, so that makes our life rehoming more difficult. ”
Staff at St Giles are now hoping to test a pet food bank within the new year in the bid in order to enable more people to keep their own pets.
Mister Linnell said the centre was presently seeking pet food suppliers to work with them on the scheme.
“If these creatures have a loving home, it is a shame in order to take all of them out of that home if it is just down to (the cost of) feeding them, ” he said.
The center also has concerns over the own energy costs this winter and is planning to launch the fundraising campaign among its supporters in order to help it heat the kennels.
‘Lockdown puppy’ Saph
One of the dogs staff at the particular centre are usually trying to help is called Saph.
She will be a cross between a Pressa Canario and a Bully Kutta – both associated with which had been bred while guard and hunting dogs.
Gemma Power, rescue office coordinator at Saint Giles, stated: “She required quite the bit of rehabilitation.
“She was a lockdown puppy essentially – she had no socialisation along with new people… so she does find the big wide world a bit scary. ”
Ms Power added: “She’s quite a big breed.
“She does look quite intimidating at times but we do think a lot associated with her wariness around people as well as around other canines… is because she was not exposed to that will as the very young puppy.
“Obviously while the girl finds it very difficult right now, she’s made a lot of progress here. ”
Ms Power estimated about half the dogs in the shelter were bought during lockdown.
She said lots of them were today having in order to adapt to things such like meeting new dogs plus people, trips to the vet and car journeys as “troublesome teens” that the should have learned as puppies.