Hungary's shelters fill up as cost of living soars

STORY: This shelter in Hungary is filled with returned pets.

Among them is Chelsy.

He was adopted just two years ago from this very shelter.

But he has an immune illness - and his owners could no longer afford his vet bills or the food needed to treat him.

They had to sell their own home to make ends meet.

It's a similar story for others who have had to leave their pets behind at the 'Noah's Ark' Animal Shelter.

As the cost of living continues to rise - and energy prices continue to soar - many have had to make tough choices.

Kinga Schnedier is a spokesperson for the shelter.

"Our list of returned animals is extremely long. There have always been adopted animals returned but recently this has multiplied. In all cases, the main motivations are the difficulties faced because of cost of living, energy prices, high veterinary costs, and people moving and working abroad."

But shelters themselves are dealing with their own price increases.

Cans of dog food have gone up 30 to 50%, according the Hungarian Animal Protection Alliance.

It says the strain is being felt across all of Hungary's animal shelters - with many of them refusing hundreds of animals because of costs.

Meanwhile, donations, the sole source of income for shelters like Noah’s Ark, have decreased.

"We are now living from day to day here. We have to weigh up hard whether we can accommodate an animal, whether we can finance the medical treatment of an animal."