The RSPCA is urging struggling owners in Hampshire not to dump pets as it received more than 10,000 calls nationally about abandoned animals in just three months last summer.
The charity is braced for a summer welfare crisis as calls about abandoned animals across England and Wales soared by 50% in June to August last year compared to the colder months*, with London topping the list of the worst counties for animal abandonment complaints with 892 calls, the West Midlands coming a close second (624 calls) followed by Greater Manchester with 617 calls.
In the south west, the charity received 209 calls from Hampshire about abandoned animals in just three months (Jun-Aug) with Devon close behind with 208 calls.
The number of abandoned animals taken in by the charity nationally also peaked in June last year (2017) with 850 dumped pets rescued.
Summer is the busiest season for the charity and the warmer months of 2017 saw more than 10,000 calls nationally to its 24-hour emergency hotline about dumped pets – one every 12 minutes.**
Those calls involved anything from kittens abandoned alone and sick to horses abandoned at the side of the road close to death.
The RSPCA’s superintendent for the south west region, Lee Hopgood said: “We see every type of animal abandoned from dogs, cats and small animals to horses, farm animals and even exotic animals like pythons just left out on the street in their vivariums.
Every animal has specific welfare needs and it’s so dangerous to leave any animal abandoned and having to fend for itself.”
“There’s no saying why people choose to abandon their animals, or why this rises in the summer – possibly people dump their animals when they head off on holiday and haven’t found anyone to look after their pet when they’re away. Or maybe they feel less guilty, leaving a pet to fend for itself in the warmer weather, compared to the cold winter months.
“We can only guess that it can be a number of factors – for examples when people’s circumstances change and they are no longer be in a position to look after their pet. However, we sadly see a number of abandoned animals with very serious injuries or illness, which is just heartbreaking.”
Last summer, the RSPCA’s team of inspectors and officers investigated more complaints of abandoned animals than they had done for two years***.
This summer, the RSPCA has already seen a number of neglected animals dumped in the south west, including two kittens dumped in woodland in New Milton, Hampshire (pictured above) at the end of last month (26 June), one of which was suffering with an injury that resulted in him having to have an eye removed. Thankfully they are now both recovering at RSPCA Ashley Heath animal centre.
Lee Hopgood added: “Abandoning pets should never be seen as a solution to a problem, and we are urging pet owners to take responsibility for their animals.
“When people take on a new pets – whatever that animal may be they do need to research it, make sure it will suit their lifestyle and that they will be able to provide for it for the entirety of its life – however long that may be.”