A sharp rise in the cost of living is being blamed for an increase in the number of animal neglect cases dealt with by the SPCA.
The average cost of food rose 8.2% during the past year - the steepest rise in 18 years.
Auckland SPCA chief executive Bob Kerridge says there has been a definite increase this year in the number of animal neglect cases that the organisation is dealing with.
He says animals are often the first to suffer when times are hard.
However, Wellington SPCA says the organisation also sees cases where people go without so their animals can be looked after.