How this Sheffield charity is helping pet owners with spiraling vet bills

Phillip Morton.
Phillip Morton.

For an animal lover there can be nothing more heartbreaking than having to give up your pet.

But for many animal owners on benefits or low incomes spiraling vet bills can often push them into that awful position.

June Hamby.

June Hamby.

However, more and more are now able to ensure their animals stay in their loving home rather than being given up for adoption thanks to a new charity scheme.

The RSPCA Sheffield Animal Centre launched the Poorly Paws campaign in the summer, which has since helped dozens of pet owners to pay for rising vet bills.

Phillip Morton, charity fundraiser at the centre, said: "We try and help those people who most need it by paying half of the vet bills.

"In some cases people have rescued the pets from being mistreated, so this is like a reward for them.

David Walker.

David Walker.

"Everyone wins in this scenario because it means the pet can stay at their home instead of the owners having to give them up, which is very emotionally straining."

He said they check to see if pet owners are either on benefits or low incomes. If they meet the criteria the RSPCA offers to pay half the vet bills, which can sometimes run into hundreds of pounds.

Mr Morton, aged 42, of Shiregreen, added: "I think the costs for medication for vets is increasing so they obviously have to put prices up to cover their own costs.

"This is why our help is so important. We have helped people to get their pets inoculated, flea and wormed, microchipped, along with other medical needs."

Amanda Kennedy and her daughter Amy and their pets.

Amanda Kennedy and her daughter Amy and their pets.

Some pet owners came forward to praise the campaign.

Amanda Kennedy and her daughter Amy, of Sheffield, were given financial help to cover the vet bills for their chihuahuas Farley and Darcy. Amanda praised staff for being "friendly" and added "there is never a long waiting time."

Couple Jill Matthews and David Walker, of Killamarsh, have really benefited from the campaign's help as they have rescued over 100 ferrets, some which have had vet bills partially paid for.

Jill said: "We would be lost if the clinic ever stopped."

Sheffield woman June Hamby, a widower who is also on benefits, praised the campaign for helping her pay for the care of six-year-old Japanese akita Cleo, who was in poor health when she rescued her three years ago.

She described staff as "pleasant and helpful."

The centre relies on public donations. Email reception@rspcasheffield.org for more information about how to make a contribution.