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PICTURED: Recession causes more exotic animals to be abandoned
Pygmy hedgehogs, emus, tortoises, snakes and polecats are just some of the animals Wayne May helps to protect but he is worried the recession is causing an influx of animals to his centre. Reporter HELOISE WOOD takes a walk on the wild side.
CASH troubles are causing pet owners to abandon their animals more than ever before, according to rare breeds specialist Wayne May.
The father-of-one left his day job a few years ago to run an organisation which helps abandoned and endangered animals.
Artisan Rare Breeds is now a registered charity and depends entirely on public donations.
However the company, based in The Brent, Dartford, is bearing the brunt of the financial crisis as pet owners are being forced to give up their animals due to lack of space or money.
Mr May told News Shopper: "The more exotic animals are coming at the moment.
"People are coming in and saying they can’t afford them anymore.
"But it’s also to do with people’s expectations.
"Sometimes they only have them for a few months. People forget you have to clean and feed them.
"We have around 800 animals now."
An incredibly tame 18-month old emu was delivered a few weeks ago after being rescued.
Mr May said: "We’ve called her Moo - she was rescued by a lady who couldn’t afford to look after her.
"We have people delivering animals from all over now as more people get to know us.
"I would say to people you need to do your research. You need to look at all the costs of having the animal and how big it will get eventually."
The 42-year-old has always been an animal lover.
He said: "I have been doing this since I was 16.
"My granddad ran a dairy farm which provided products for the local hospital between the 20s and 40s and I got interested in animals from that.
"What I love is it gives me great satisfaction to know I'm saving endangered and threatened animals.
"The rescue side of our charity is quite often upsetting, but when an animal makes a full recovery and can be re-homed it's then you know you achieved something."
For more information, ring 07873350701 or email Artisanrarebreeds@gmail.com
Californian king snake was abandoned on the M25 near the Dartford Tunnel
Harris hawk was donated as an unwanted pet
Barn owl, called Casper, who is completely blind and was rescued from Strood
Polecat and ferret found abandoned in west Malling
African grey parrot, now called Baby, an unwanted pet
Rosella parakeets were both caught flying around Dartford one was caught in the town centre
Hermann tortoise was abandoned in a box at a refuse bin
Horsefield tortoise was rescued after being discovered living in appalling conditions
Cameroon sheep were donated by Beale park in Reading
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