The manager of an animal sanctuary said she's 'shocked and surprised' at the amount of unwanted pets needing to be rehomed for non-emergency reasons.

Karen Weed, who manages Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, said that in 2018, they helped rehome more animals than ever before.

And while many of them have been coming to the Edenfield-based centre as strays or because their owners have died, some are abandoned with sanctuary volunteers for different reasons.

Mrs Weed said: "Some reasons for admissions still surprise me, such as, 'I didn’t want to buy a litter tray', 'Can we swap it for a dog?', and 'It doesn’t bark', are just a few."

Mrs Weed said that despite rehoming more than 1,300 animals last year, the demand to take them in continues, and she's worried they could run out of space.

In 2018, the sanctuary admitted 1440 animals and rehomed 714 cats. They also rehomed 542 dogs, which was 100 more than in 2017.

And already this year they have admitted 106 animals.

Mrs Weed added: "It’s good news that we are re-homing so many but their places are soon taken by new animals which are coming in.

"For example, since the start of this year we have had 70 rabbits come to us when we only have room for 20, and we have only re-homed four this year so we haven’t got the space available."

The Edenfield sanctuary, which celebrated its 60th anniversary last year, operates entirely on donations and costs more than £1m a year to run.

And Mrs Weed said that people need to think wisely before they purchase pets that they may not be able to continue looking after.

She added: "One afternoon last summer, we had phone calls to take in 40 cats in the space of a couple of hours.

"We can house 100 cats but we were already full to capacity.

"It means we have to prioritise which ones we take in, with the ones most at risk or vulnerable coming in first, although we do try to help them all."

For more information on Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, and how you can help to rehome unwanted animals, go to