The number of unwanted family pets being abandoned is soaring, according to the UK’s biggest animal charity, which says it is facing a “winter crisis”.
The RSPCA says incidents of animal abandonments are now at a three-year high – last month there were 1,800 incidents of abandonment reported across England and Wales, a 48.1% increase on October 2020 (1,215).
“Unwanted pets face a bleak winter,” said the charity.
COVID-19 restrictions caused a surge in pet ownership and that, coupled with the ongoing cost of living crisis, has created a “perfect storm” of animal welfare emergencies and abandonments.
Dermot Murphy, RSPCA inspectorate commissioner, said: “We’re desperately concerned about the coming winter months – abandonments have soared and many rescue centres are full to bursting, so we are facing an unprecedented winter crisis.”
“Our rescue teams are set to be busier than ever this Christmas – so we need animal lovers to join the Christmas Rescue and donate to help us be there for animals in desperate need as abandonment soars,” he added.
RSPCA is asking animal lovers to donate what they can to their winter appeal which will help the charity care for the animals throughout the colder months.
Mother and daughter, Sheila and Stella, are just two of the many cats who were placed in a warm and loving home after being rescued from abandonment by the RSPCA in East Anglia.
The pair were found living in “filthy conditions with no food and water” and were underweight.
RSPCA inspector Amy Pellegrini said: “After the call came in I rushed to a flat to find four cats in desperate need of help. The scratches at the door and the loud noises the cats were making told me they were starving.”
After the animals were given a good meal and removed safely from the flat, Ms Pellegrini took them to the RSPCA East Norfolk branch where the cats were nursed back to health.
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Sheila and Stella now spend most of their time lounging, snacking on treats and receiving endless fuss from their new owner.
The two other cats found were Tom and Barbra who have also been found loving homes.
Mr Murphy added: “The support of the public helps neglected and abandoned animals in so many ways – from buying soft, warm bedding and nourishing food for an animal who’s desperately cold and hungry, to funding vital vet care for an animal who is suffering and in pain.”
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