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Winter crisis: animal abandonments have soared

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The animal welfare charity has released shocking new stats that show abandonments have been spiralling amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Already this year, up to the end of October, the animal welfare charity has received 17,838 reports of abandoned animals across England and Wales – which, if such trends continue, would equate to 21,417 reports over 2023.

This compares with 16,118 reports during the whole of 2020, meaning the RSPCA is on course to see an eye-watering 32.9% rise in abandonment calls this year.

It’s higher too than the number of reports received in 2021 (17,179) and 2022 (19,645).

And in Gloucestershire, the charity is on course to receive 225 reports of animal abandonment this year – marking a 15.7% rise on the number of reports received in the local community in 2020.

Dermot Murphy, who heads the RSPCA frontline rescue teams, said: “The combined effects of the pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis has created a perfect storm – and means we expect more animals than ever will need our help this year.

“Abandonment calls to our emergency line are now at a three-year high, as we respond to an increasing number of animals being given up and dumped.

“Behind these shocking statistics are thousands of vulnerable animals. Each one is a valuable life in urgent need of our help. 

In Gloucestershire, the bodies of five newborn puppies were discovered in a lake in Newent. 

The dogs, thought to be Staffordshire bull terriers, were found in Newent Lake on 26 August by a concerned member of the public who contacted the animal welfare charity.

RSPCA inspector Jon Ratcliffe said: “The poor puppies’ bodies were found in the water, with one placed inside a white sock. They still had their umbilical cords attached. We think it is likely the pups were dumped at this location in the hours or days leading up to their discovery.”


Dermot added: “For nearly 200 years, the RSPCA has been working tirelessly to bring animals to safety and give them the expert treatment and compassion they deserve.

“We’ll continue to do so for as long as we’re needed but we can’t do that without the support of fellow animal lovers. Together, we could save more lives.

“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’s suffering and in pain.”

This year the RSPCA is asking supporters to Join the Christmas Rescue by donating to help rescue teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need them.

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