“ADOPT don’t shop” was the message from All Creatures Great and Small, as they work to find ‘forever’ homes for pets across Monmouthshire. 

All Creatures Great and Small (ACGAS) is an animal sanctuary based in between Torfaen and Monmouthshire, providing a temporary home to a variety of animals including cats, dogs and rabbits. 

There are many reasons why animals have been brought to the sanctuary, including the death of their previous owners, owners moving into rented accommodation, owners being unable to care for them and now, the inability to afford them. 

Kate Carlyle, a trustee at All Creatures Great And Small said: “We have a constant waiting list. If we were to build another three of those catteries, they would be full. 

“We’ve just had to build two more rabbit houses, because we can’t keep up with the demand for people who want to bring them in. Rabbits are probably the most neglected pet.” 

Kate said that one of the reasons that people used to be less inclined to adopt animals was because of the stigma of the word ‘rescue’. 

She said: “I think the attitude towards rehoming has got better. People are more open. I think there was an association, particularly with dogs, that if it’s a rescue, then it means there’s some terrible background.

“But often it’s not the case. Often it is just a change of circumstances. We’ve had dogs who have come in because their owners have had a change in their working hours, so they’re left on their own for longer - which isn’t good for them.

“Sometimes it’s a reason such as mental health, homelessness, domestic violence. Without organisations like us where would they go?”

It’s no secret the cost of living has caused many to change our habits and tighten belts. Unfortunately, this also means that some owners have to surrender their beloved pets to sanctuaries like ACGAS. 

“We’ve seen a marked increase with vets contacting us where their owners can’t afford the care, so the owners are surrendering the animals to them. If we don’t take them, the vets will put them to sleep,” said Kate who added that one of the sanctuary's biggest problems was the funding which she called on the government to help with.

“All of our funding is through our supporters, donations, fundraisers and charity shops. What the councils fail to appreciate is that we are doing a public service. Dog’s aren’t running around the streets anymore. It needs to be recognised. 

Kate provided some advice for people who are thinking of rehoming a pet, and some advice for those who may be considering surrendering theirs. 

She said: “Make sure you can afford them. Do your research, whether it’s a cat, dog or rabbit, you’ve got to be clear as to what they need. Certain types of dogs are more needy than others.

“If you need to rehome your pets, look for help it is out there. There’s a fantastic charity called the Pet Food Bank Service which covers a lot of South Wales, so if food is an issue - get in touch with them.

“If it's a veterinary issue, speak with the vets because there are often other options available before the ultimate decision to surrender. It isn’t an easy decision for somebody to make. It’s heartbreaking for some people.

“If you do have to give up your pet, then do it the right way. Approach a sanctuary and charity. When they come to a reputable sanctuary, we check everybody and everything before they are rehomed. We want them to go to that forever home.”

If you are interested in giving an animal a forever home, visit the ACGAS website or call 01633 866144.

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