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A pet sanctuary in Devon says it has been forced to cut jobs

The sanctuary said that without enough trained staff it has had to reduce its animal pens by about 30%.

Nearly 150 cats, rabbits and small pets are on the Woodside waiting list.

"There's no two ways about it, the recession is a major factor in this," sanctuary founder Carole Bowles told BBC News.

'Difficult decision'

The sanctuary receives no statutory funding and is entirely dependant on donations and money it earns from its 10 charity shops in and around Plymouth.

"We really do rely on our charity shops and these went quiet when the recession hit," Ms Bowles said.

"They've picked up a bit, but we just don't have enough cash to cope with the demand."

The 22 members of staff at the sanctuary had been forewarned of possible redundancies in August, but Ms Bowles said it was still a very difficult decision to make.

"Fortunately most have managed to find other jobs, but not everyone has and it's a really great shame," she said.

The sanctuary, which had 111 animal pens, has now closed 35.

There are 84 cats on the sanctuary's waiting list, plus 61 small animals including rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and ferrets.

However, Ms Bowles said there is not the same problem with abandoned dogs at the moment.