By Joshua Robinson –
Animal abandonment incidents have increased to a three-year high as the RSPCA warns unwanted pets face a bleak winter, with incidents in West Yorkshire rising sharply compared with 2020.
The animal welfare charity has today released new stats that show abandonments have been soaring 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 a 32.9% rise in abandonment calls this year. It’s higher than the number of reports received in 2021 (17,179) and 2022 (19,645).
In West Yorkshire, the charity is on course to receive 1,181 reports of animal abandonment this year, marking a 35.5% rise in 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.”
Dermot Murphy added: “Behind these shocking statistics are thousands of vulnerable animals. Each one is a valuable life in urgent need of our help.”
“We’re desperately concerned about the coming winter months in West Yorkshire. Abandonments have soared and many rescue centres are full to bursting, so we are facing an unprecedented winter crisis.”
Want the latest news in Kirklees sent directly to your phone? Join the KLTV WhatsApp Community today!
“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 neglect and abandonment soars.”
In March, four kittens were found in a soggy cardboard box on one of the coldest and wettest days of the year so far in Leeds.
A member of the public contacted the animal welfare charity after the animals were found outside a house in Raincliffe Terrace in the city.
Three black female kittens, aged no more than seven weeks, were named Dusty, Dolly and Debby; while a ginger and white male kitten, aged four to five months, was named Adam.
Fortunately, all of the kittens were unharmed from the ordeal, though understandably cold and frightened by what had happened to them.
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.