Hundreds of pets have been abandoned at animal shelters by owners who can no longer afford to keep them – because of the BEDROOM TAX, it emerged today.
Animal charity Blue Cross said their centres are at breaking point after pet owners across the country were forced to give up their beloved cats and dogs.
The Government’s under-occupancy charge is driving many to move to smaller properties because they cannot afford to stump up the extra cash.
It means that animal lovers are having to give up their pets as they can’t afford to keep them, or simply don’t have room in their new smaller homes, the charity revealed.
Yesterday the Blue Cross – who work to rehome animals who have been given up – revealed the number of dogs handed in has DOUBLED while the number of cats has TRIPLED since the controversial benefits change was introduced.
Figures show their centres across the UK are bursting with unwanted pets just days after it emerged that HALF of families struggling to cope with the levy are now in rent arrears.
A spokesperson for Blue Cross said: “Since the Government introduced changes to housing benefit on 1 April 2013, meaning that anyone receiving housing benefit with a spare room in their home would receive a cut to their benefit.
“Blue Cross has taken in more than double the number of pets given up because their owners were not allowed to keep the pet in their home.
“Often this is because pet owners have been forced to move to smaller properties which are not suitable for pets, or where pets are not allowed.
“Blue Cross wants local authorities and housing associations to fully consider the needs of people when assessing accommodation need, and that should include if they own pets.
“Owning a pet not only means companionship and comfort but research shows there are also many health benefits.
“We believe pets are an important part of the family and that it is really important for people and pets to stay together whenever they can.”
Jane Heather, from Wrentham, Suffolk, was forced to give up her one-year-old puppy Brandy last month – leaving her children devastated.
The 43-year-old was forced to move from her four-bedroom home into a cramped two-bed as she couldn’t afford to pay the bedroom tax.
As a result Brandy found there was no longer space in the family home for him – and he had to go.
The distraught mum-of-two said: “It was heartbreaking. Brandy is such a wonderful dog and we had to let him go.
“We got to the new house and found that Brandy couldn’t go anywhere without us tripping over him.
“The back garden is tiny, so when he went out he was running into the walls if he got up any speed, it wasn’t a place for a dog like him.
“It crushed us when we had to let him go, he was just a puppy and we all loved him so much.”
Blue Cross Chief Executive, Kim Hamilton, added: “Pet ownership is an incredibly rewarding and valuable experience that should be open to everyone.
“Brandy was clearly a much loved member of the family who were devastated that they had to give him up.
“We deeply sympathise with Mrs Heather and her family and all the other families who have, or may have to, give up their pet because they have been forced to move home or can no longer afford to keep them.”