Rescuers fear animal neglect will rise this Christmas

Rescuers fear animal neglect will rise this Christmas

Survey results have revealed that 87% of our frontline rescuers fear neglect of pets will rise this festive season.

We carried out polling of our frontline rescue teams with the startling results highlighting fears animals will be facing a bleak winter.

Rescuers, who are out 365 days a year helping animals in need, fear that the rise in pet ownership during the pandemic and pets bought on impulse will result in more animals being neglected this year; 84% are also concerned more people are taking on pets without understanding how to care for them.

Can you help a needy animal this Christmas? © RSPCADermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer, said: "The RSPCA rescue teams are out 365 days a year in all weathers saving neglected and abandoned animals. This year we are concerned that the rise in pet ownership could mean some have taken on pets on impulse which may lead to more people abandoning or neglecting their animals.

"We will be out there every day this Christmas for the animals who need us most, bringing them to safety, but we can't do it alone. We rely entirely on donations to keep our rescue teams on the road.

"With a cost of £245 a day to keep a frontline rescuer on the road this Christmas. We're calling on animal lovers to Join the Christmas Rescue to help keep our teams out on the frontline, doing whatever it takes to rescue every animal we can."

The cost of caring for a pet could cause neglect this Christmas

In the run up to Christmas, our inspectors and animal rescue officers - who work throughout the year helping animals who are facing cruelty, neglect, abandonment or injury - were surveyed about their biggest fears for animals this Christmas.

Being able to provide appropriate care for pets topped the reasons the officers worry animals will be abandoned or neglected this Christmas - with 95% listing the cost of care, including vet and grooming costs as their number one reason for neglect.

Heartbreakingly, the survey also revealed that our rescuers believe loss of interest in a pet is a contributing factor to abandonments and neglect at this time of year, with 82% saying they feel it is the main reason for abandonments, and 74% believing it is a major cause of neglect.

Last year, the charity received one call every minute last December. One report of an abandoned animal every hour and took 70 rescue animals into RSPCA care every day. There were 3,916 reports of animal neglect in December, with 12,344 throughout the winter across England and Wales.

We've launched our Christmas appeal 'Join the Christmas Rescue' to ask the public to help us be there for animals in need this festive season. 

The survey results revealed: 

  • 87% of frontline officers polled are worried there will be more neglect this winter as people have bought pets on impulse and don't know how to care for them properly, or can't afford them;
  • 84% are worried that more people are taking on pets without understanding how to care for them;
  • 45% fear there will be more abandonments this winter as more people return to work;
  • 69% agree it's common for abandoned animals to also have suffered neglect, such as being underfed or suffering from an untreated disease/injury;
  • 60% are seeing more cases of puppies and dogs being kept in crates for too long due to a misunderstanding of crate training;
  • concerns about the cost of caring for animals highlights the importance of pet insurance which gives peace of mind and means that owners don't have to compromise on the vet treatment for their pet. 

Molly Moo with her adopter, John © RSPCAMany animals rescued from neglect last Christmas by our teams will be enjoying a very different Christmas this year, thanks to our officers. Dogs like Molly Moo, who was found alone, wandering along a busy road having been abandoned on a cold December night.

Molly, a 10-year-old German Shepherd cross, was underweight and suffering from a skin condition. Inspector Stephen Lee, who rescued her, said that 'when you looked in her eyes she seemed broken'.

She spent months in our care being treated and rehabilitated before being adopted by John Bebington and his family, where she is now a cherished and much-loved pet. 

To help our dedicated teams rescue more neglected animals this winter, please Join the Christmas Rescue and donate today