The head of farm at Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary in Edenfield has spoken of the staff’s heartbreak as they have had to stop taking in small animals.

The sanctuary is home to 350 animals with around 80 dogs, 120 cats and a soaring number of rabbits and small animals waiting to be rehomed.

Last month, the sanctuary was preparing for more people to give up their pets as the cost of living crisis hits homes and owners who may no longer afford their pet’s medical treatment.

Now, Peter Hesketh has revealed they have had to stop taking in small animals as they are full due to reasons such as children becoming bored with their pets.

Lancashire Telegraph: Joyce and HopperJoyce and Hopper (Image: Bleakholt)

He said that in his 20 years of being at Bleakholt this is the worst he has known it for rabbits, guinea pigs, gerbils and rats being abandoned.

“We can hold 20 rabbits here and we are at maximum capacity now while others are in foster homes,” said Peter. “We also have guinea pigs, gerbils and pet rats at Bleakholt.

“The reasons these small animals are given up are mixed. Some say their children are bored with the animals but rabbits need more than just cuddling, they need stimulation and they need a lot of time spending with them.

“Others have bought them from pet shops and have been told they are the same sex and then they have been mixed sexes and have unplanned litters which can mean there can be as many as 14 more animals needing caring for.”

“Then there is the economy, animals are coming in but we aren’t rehoming as many or as quickly as we usually do.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Buffy and WillowBuffy and Willow (Image: Bleakholt)

The electricity bills at the Edenfield sanctuary doubled to almost £100,000 a year which is causing grave concern when dealing with looking after the animals that need special care.

Peter added: “The one bright spot was recently Albert, a rabbit who had been with us since he was a baby, was rehomed aged two.

“Our waiting list is huge – we are getting anything between four-nine phone calls every day, requesting to take in an animal, some are dumped at vets, and it’s heartbreaking that we can’t. This is the worst I have known it and we have no space.”

If anyone can help with rehoming or sponsoring a farm animal visit the dedicated section on the sanctuary's website.