Amid the cost-of-living crisis, some South West pet owners are surrendering their animals to shelters because they can no longer afford to keep them. The RSPCA has found that across the State nearly a third of requests to surrender an animal over the past year relate to cost-of-living and housing pressures. Cases of animal cruelty are also increasing, with the RSPCA investigating 7126 cases in WA in the 12 months to June, which is nearly 700 more than the previous year. In Bunbury, animal shelters are struggling to keep up with the demand with Saving Animals From Euthanasia Bunbury Branch being “inundated” with pet surrenders. Co-ordinator Zillah Dyke confirmed the cost-of-living crisis was behind the number of animals needing rescue. “We’re seeing an unprecedented number of animals coming through, and requests to get help,” Ms Dyke said. “People are having a really hard time getting a rental, let alone a rental that’s pet-friendly. “Watching these people have to give up their pets because some of them have been forced to live in a caravan, it’s so sad.” Ms Dyke said the amount of surrenders has upset her staff. “It’s hard mentally, It’s really, really hard because you’re getting these continuous requests, and if you don’t have enough foster carers, you can’t help,” she said. “Many are also struggling to find animal-friendly rentals, and some have become homeless,” she said. “Cost-of-living increases don’t just impact households — our operating costs have gone up as well, it’s a double whammy.” Ms Dyke said she would love to see landlords be more considerate towards man’s best friend. “I would love to encourage people who are renting out their homes to show compassion and allow renters with pets, with appropriate bonds and exit conditions,” she said. The WA Government has tried taking steps to fix this, outlining in its 2023/24 budget that it has updated tenancy laws. Landlords will now only be able to refuse pets in a property after getting the consent of the Commissioner for Consumer Protection, and must state a valid reason to do so. These figures released by the RSPCA coincide with Thursday being Give to Get Them Home Day, one day a year where all donations made to the RSPCA are doubled. RSPCA WA relies on donations for around 80 per cent of its funding. To donate, go to rspcagivingday.com or call 9209 9311.