A POPULAR animal sanctuary is facing a difficult future unless it sees an increase in donations of food and money.

Kays Hill Animal Sanctuary, near West Auckland, has been inundated with unwanted pets in recent months due to the toughening economic climate.

In addition, the owners of the sanctuary have noticed a drop in the number of much-valued donations.

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Owner Kevin Plummer said they are currently caring for about 250 animals and he believes the situation will only get worse.

“We spend about £2,000 a month,” he said. “Vets bills are tough and often high because we are dealing with a lot of sick and old animals.

“We need to rehome some of them. When we used to reach capacity we used to ring round the centres to ask for help but we’re all in the same situation now.

“We suspended rehoming for a few weeks before Christmas but the interest has never really picked up since the start of January.

“We tell people we are full but we still find pets abandoned at the gates. What are we supposed to do, we can’t just leave them there.”

The animal sanctuary has planning permission to build a new cattery on the site but work has been delayed due to lack of money available to spend on the project.

Mr Plummer said: “We have got the heating system in half of it but I need more money for the rest. The donations we have got coming in at the moment have to go on vets bills and food. 

“I think people also forget we have all the general bills to pay as well as the rest. When the recession hit, we had to use our savings.

“Times are tough but we can’t cut off from the job. We are there as a safety net for these animals.”

He added: “If people are able to help we ask them to ring first so we know they are coming.”

Anyone able to rehome an animal or wishing to make a donation can call 01388-834996.

Alternatively people can leave donations at Sainsbury's, in St Helen Auckland, until Saturday, January 26.