Man's best friend feels the credit crunch bite

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Brits are known for their devotion to their pets, but it seems even man's best friend is not immune from the recession, as cash-strapped owners try to cut costs by putting their pets up for sale.

Brits are known for their devotion to their pets, but it seems even man's best friend is not immune from the recession, as cash-strapped owners try to cut costs by putting their pets up for sale.

According to figures released by free UK classifieds website, VivaStreet.co.uk, the number of new pets for sale has increased by 67% in Q3 2009 compared to the corresponding quarter in 2008, and dogs for sale ads make up the largest percentage of those new listings, as families feel the bite of the economic downturn.

Dogs are the most expensive family pet, costing an estimated £750 year to keep (roughly twice the amount of cats), and therefore the most likely to have fallen foul of tighter family finances.

In Q3 2009, there were 6,844 new pets for sale ads listed on VivaStreet.co.uk compared to just 4,101 new ads in Q3 2008, and dogs for sale ads made up 58% of those listings, with cats for sale and kittens for sale ads making up 30%.

September saw the largest number of pets for sale ads on the website for any month in the past two years, with 9,254 listings, compared to 9,154 in August and 5,613 in September 2008.

According to the VivaStreet.co.uk figures, large and small dogs appear to be equally susceptible to the economic downturn with Jack Russells, Chihuahuas, German Shepherds, Bulldogs and Labradors the top five breeds being advertised on the site.

The VivaStreet.co.uk figures reflect a trend that has been highlighted by a number of animal groups and charities since the credit crunch began. Almost 12,000 animals were abandoned last year according to the RSPCA.

Yannick Pons, CEO of free classifieds website, VivaStreet.co.uk, comments:

"The UK has always been a nation of pet lovers but this prolonged economic downturn is really starting to take its toll. While the RSPCA has reported a significant rise in abandoned animals, we've seen a significant rise in pets being advertised for sale. This suggests that responsible and caring owners who simply can't afford the financial burden of looking after a pet any longer are trying to find new homes for their animals rather than abandoning them."

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Notes to Editors
For more information, contact:
Jonathan Stevens Director, Rhizome PR T + 44 (0) 20 7851 4757
M + 44 (0) 7977 119579 W http://www.rhizomepr.com

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Dominic Hiatt
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