Almost 100 animals searching for sanctuary at a rescue centre this Christmas have been told there is no room at the inn.
There are currently 30 dogs, 40 cats and 20 small animals on the waiting list to be temporarily housed at HULA in Aspley Guise.
But the shelter, which opened in 1972, only has room for 37 animals – not including the permanent farmyard species.
It also spent £10,000 more than the £290,000 the charity made last year, raised mainly through donations.
Staff say they are being forced to turn away needy animals because they do not have the space or manpower to cope with demand.
Usually pets takes up to two months to be re-homed, but on an average day, HULA receives around 20 enquiries to relinquish an animal.
A total of 212 pets were successfully adopted by families across the country.
HULA chairman Karina Collins, who manages eight full-time staff and 150 volunteers, said: “We would love to take in more, but we simply don’t have the capacity to do so.
“There are a lot of people out there who genuinely need our help because whether it’s through ill-health or a change in circumstances, they cannot provide a fit home for their pet.
“However, sometimes there are others who think having an animal is a right, not a privilege.”
Nine baby rabbits were dumped overnight on HULA’s drive earlier this month.
Staff say they often find dogs tied to the front gate who have been abandoned there for more than 10 hours.