Video - Demand for PDSA hospital soars

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A charity which cares for pets in Wakefield is busier than ever as owners struggle to meet the cost of vet bills.

The PetAid hospital in West Yorkshire was PDSA’s 32nd busiest site in the country five years ago – but is ranked now number one in the UK.

The hospital, which gives free veterinary care for people on means-tested benefits, has previously treated more than 300 pets in one day.

And it receives as many as 30,000 calls in a month.

Practice manager James Funnell said: “A lot of our clients have hit hard times. The recession in this area is quite noticeable.

“It’s not uncommon for us to see 200 pets in one day.”

It costs the charity £1.7m each year to run the facility in Bradford, which treats pets from across the region.

Mr Funnell said: “We try educating our clients so they see the value of what we do. It may be free for them but it costs us a lot and we receive no government funding.”

Cat owner Amanda O’Connor, who lives in Morley, sought the help of the charity when she left her job.

“These days private vets just want money, they don’t care,” she said. “But as soon as I took my cat, Gracie, to the hospital they diagnosed her within five minutes of seeing her.

“She has bowel problems and sadly passed away in May but I had two-and-a-half years longer with her thanks to the PDSA.”

Some procedures cost PDSA more than £200 so the charity encourage everyone who uses the service to make a contribution. The money given helps the hospital provide emergency operations, in-patient care, a weigh-in clinic, a pharmacy and dental care.