RSPCA offers half-prices for Christmas

At only $125, Ben has got to be one of the cheapest horses around.

The abuse victim, formerly from the Hunter Valley, is just one of many animals the RSPCA Illawarra shelter hopes to find new homes for during its half-price Christmas sale.

Ben, estimated to be between 12 and 15 years old, was brought to the shelter at Unanderra due to an over-abundance of horses at the Hunter Valley shelter.

He can't be ridden - Ben is a companion animal only, but like all the animals at the shelter, he is desperate for a home. This weekend, to help ease overcrowding at its NSW shelters in the lead-up to Christmas, the RSPCA is offering 50 per cent off all pets. Warmer weather has triggered breeding among strays, leading to higher numbers of kittens and puppies being handed in to shelters.

At the Unanderra shelter, supervisor Janelle Kalkan said increasing numbers of adult cats was the main concern. She said in the Illawarra, financial stress was the main reason people gave up animals, especially in the lead-up to Christmas.

"I think people have a lot of extra pressures during Christmas financially, with presents and bills coming in, then the credit cards that follow after," Ms Kalkan said.

She also warned people to be careful when buying animals as gifts for others, and said the shelter noticed a steady stream of unwanted "presents" arriving in the months after December 25.

The sale runs today, tomorrow and Sunday, and includes all animals available at the shelter.

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