A HAYLE animal charity is struggling to cope with the number of unwanted pets it has been asked to rehome in the run up to Christmas.
The daily requests in recent weeks has left the National Animal Welfare Trust (Nawt) with up to 40 cats and dogs on its waiting list, which is now full to capacity.
Centre manager Louise Clarke said: "As the days get nearer to Christmas the more desperate people seem. We have been inundated. It is so sad and frustrating. There is so little thought for most of them."
Although the centre has had visits recently from people looking for pets, it has delayed all rehoming until the new year to ensure the animals are not taken as Christmas presents.
Throughout the year, Mrs Clarke said there has been an increase in the number of animals brought to the centre as "thoughtless purchases".
Staff have found about half of the animals arrive after being bought on a whim when owners realise how much care they need.
"It's not unknown for a pet to have been bought over the weekend and then brought into us on a Monday, all without shame or remorse. We are seeing animals that have had four, five or six owners while still relatively young. We are hearing about cats that have been left when owners have moved house. The owners then probably just get another cat at their new house."
The Cornish branch of the Nawt, on Wheal Alfred Road, has been running since 1996. "If there is a message that we can put out to people it is to really think carefully before taking on a new pet, no matter what the species, look into how long in years the pet is likely to last, and can they offer a lifelong home and if they can, can they afford that lifelong home, not just the food but everything else that goes into being a responsible owner," said Mrs Clarke.
"Animals have got such a lot to give to us in love, companionship and loyalty – it is only fair they are treated in the same way."
For more information or to make a donation visit www.nawt.org.uk/cornwall or call 01736 756005.