ANKARA, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- Multi-decade high inflation and rising cost of living in Türkiye are burdening pet owners and animal shelters at a time when everything, including essentials for the furry companions, is increasingly expensive amid a sharp decline in the households' purchasing power.
"We are struggling because of price hikes, pet food has skyrocketed because most of the premium pet food is imported, and as the lira has declined against the euro and the dollar, prices have soared," said Ece Onderoglu, a dog trainer, as he was attending PETZOO, a weekend event hosted in the capital Ankara as the country's biggest pet fair.
Türkiye is witnessing an economic downturn marked by an inflation of over 80 percent, the highest level since 1998, and the continued depreciation of its national currency lira, which has lost over 22 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar over the past eight months.
"Our costs have gone up: electricity, natural gas, transport, and manufacturing. And all of these costs are reflected in our products for the consumers who are not happy at all with the prices," said Kerem Kececi, head of Bosphorus, a company producing dog and cat food.
Türkiye has a long-established culture of community care for animals, especially street cats and dogs. But the current financial woes in the country have made it increasingly difficult for the public to maintain this culture.
"We are receiving far fewer food donations from the public since the start of the year, and it's getting more and more difficult to care for our animals," Volkan Koc, co-founder of a dog village near Ankara, told Xinhua.
Patilikoy, the dog village run by a charitable organization in the lakeside Golbasi district of the capital city, is dedicated to the rehabilitation of over 700 rescued canines.
"Sometimes our animals eat once or nothing in a day. We depend entirely on donations and in times of crisis, our shelter is not a priority," Koc lamented.