The UK's cats and dogs are among the latest victims of the recession as more people hand their pets in to animal charities and rescue centres.
The Blue Cross reported a 26 per cent rise between 2007 and 2008 in the number of animals brought to its centres - and a 56 per cent rise in the number of people citing financial reasons for giving up their pets.
A spokeswoman for the charity said a total of 1,295 animals were brought in last year. The increase could be clearly related to the credit crunch, she said.
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home also reported a 19 per cent increase in the number of strays taken in over the same period. Nearly 600 have been brought in since Christmas.
Cats Protection said adoption rates round the country were between 3 and 30 per cent lower last year. The RSPCA declined to give numbers but reported "a significant increase in calls, since the beginning of the credit crunch from people thinking about giving up their animals".