AN animal sanctuary in East Lancs has seen a surge in handover requests in 2023 amid the cost of living crisis.

Staff at Bleakholt in Edenfield received a record number of enquiries last year, more than 50,000, from dog owners about giving up their pets.

And bosses at the charity fear this year could be even worse.

By January 10, Bleakholt had received more than 1,900 handover requests, a 46 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2022.

The animal campaigners are also urging the public to insure their pets after seeing a surge in animals coming into their care which need medical treatment amid the cost of living crisis.

Sanctuary manager Karen Weed said: “With the cost-of-living crisis hitting people hard, we are receiving more animals into our care who need medical treatment. We are seeing a lot of dogs and cats who need x-rays and surgery on their legs.”

One animal returned to the sanctuary is three-year-old bulldog Dot. The dog is set to undergo leg surgery tomorrow, which will cost around £3,500.

Karen said: “Dot was returned to us through no fault of her own. She was one of many we are seeing at the moment who are coming to us needing surgery.

“Once in our care we soon realised there was cruciate ligament damage on her back leg which she needed surgery for. She also had an ear infection.”

Meanwhile Smokey the Staffordshire bull terrier is another dog that recently came to the sanctuary. She has problem with her knees and hips and is in need of a foster home.

Karen is urging the public to get pet insurance which will allow them to pay for surgeries or treatments.

She said: “We can’t emphasise enough how important it is to get insurance for your pets. If the worst happens you will want to be able to get them the help they need. Without insurance you might not be able to do that.”

Karen is also asking anyone, who is financially able to, to donate to the animal sanctuary as it sees bills surge amid the cost of living crisis.

She said: “The cost of living crisis has had a huge impact on us and the price of everything, from animal food to transport, has gone up.

“The biggest impact has been our utilities. Our electricity bill has more than doubled and is now around £100,000 per year as we have 90 kennels to keep heated.”

To make a donation to the charity visit