Port Hedland’s sole pet rescue organisation has put another desperate call out for help amid a chronic animal foster shortage. Saving Animals From Euthanasia, which was founded in 2003 and has branches across the North West, is under extreme pressure as it continues to be hit by the shortage, which the group having handled 300 dogs and cats in the past year alone. Port Hedland branch member Rachel Maher said the group was under pressure as the Pilbara’s rental crisis had made it increasingly difficult for her organisation to find foster carers. “There’s been a decline in the last 12 months of carers due to rentals not allowing animals; people are unable to afford the rent so they’re not in town,” she said. “People are struggling to make ends meet with their own families so animals are being surrendered. They are usually the first thing to go. “Our focus this year has been to do weekend litter drops and help our foster carers because the rent here is atrocious. “Then people have children, fees, sports, school and everything on top of that. For them to have a kitten or buy litter is very difficult.” The issue is not restricted to Port Hedland either. Karratha-based SAFE founder Sue Hedley said her phone had never rung so much with people relinquishing their animals and described the situation as an epidemic. “I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and I’ve never seen so many animals needing homes,” she said. “The big thing in WA is the rental crisis. People just have to give up animals all the time because they have to move and they can’t take them with them. “With the economic environment and cost of living, so many people who could afford them once can’t any more. “We’ve always had lots of animals from the pound but we’ve never had so many owners giving up their pets.” Both women said that with the Pilbara’s transient workforce, finding carers had always been difficult but the situation was compounded by the rental crisis. Other reasons that people surrendered animals included poor behaviour from a lack of adequate training and allergies. Ms Hedley said it had also become difficult to find people willing to adopt an animal. “I’ve never seen it like this; we normally put a cute puppy on our website and wake up to 10 applications,” she said. “At the moment we’ve got small dogs but we’re getting no applications at times.” Mrs Maher said many animals had to be sent to Perth for foster care or adoption. “All branches are reaching out to Perth for foster carers because we’re happy to manage carers in that area,” she said. “It also increases the adoption chances of our animals. “Without foster carers, we can’t save our animals.” This week Mrs Maher sent 13 cats to Perth and will send another 13 next week. She currently has another 40 cats on her books that need a home. It comes as SAFE Hedland was nominated for the Woolworths Community Group of the Year for its work to rescue and assist homeless animals. The awards will be presented on October 21 in Perth with a $2000 cash prize.