More than 100 reports of abandoned animals made to RSPCA every day
As part of the charity's Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, the RSPCA has revealed it received more than 100 reports of animals being abandoned every single day throughout 2021 and sadly these figures are on the rise this year.
A total of 38,087 abandonment reports were made to the charity's cruelty line last year - an average of over 3,000 reports a month, 104 a day or four abandoned animals every hour.
Heartbreakingly, the number of animals being dumped is also on the rise with a 17% increase from 2020 to 2021 and a 24% increase in 2022.
The charity fears that a huge rise in pet ownership during the pandemic coupled with the cost of living crisis putting a strain on people's finances means even more animals are being given up this year.
Abandonments up in the summer
The animal welfare charity has released the stark figures as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty summer campaign which aims to raise funds to keep its rescue teams on the frontline saving animals in desperate need of help as well as raise awareness about how we can all work together to stop cruelty for good.
Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer at the RSPCA, said:
The idea of putting your cat in a cat carrier and taking them to a secluded spot in the woods before walking away, or chucking your dog out of the car and driving off leaving them desperately running behind the vehicle, is absolutely unthinkable and heartbreaking to most pet owners - but sadly we are seeing animals callously abandoned like this every single day.
We understand that sometimes the unexpected can happen - the pandemic and cost of living crisis proved that - but there is never an excuse to abandon an animal. There are always other options for anyone who has fallen on hard times and can no longer afford to keep their pet.
From January to July 2021 there were 18,375 abandonment reports compared to 22,908 in the first seven months of this year - a rise of 24%.
Cost of living is an urgent threat to pet welfare
A recent report released by the RSPCA in partnership with the Scottish SPCA also showed that the cost of living crisis is the most urgent threat to pet welfare in the UK.
The Animal Kindness Index showed that 78% of pet owners think the cost of living will impact their animals, almost seven out of 10 (68%) expressing concern that the cost of care was increasing, and a fifth (19%) worried about how they'll afford to feed their pets. The study also showed cat owners seem to be most impacted and concerned about cost of living pressures.
This worrying survey comes at a time when the charity is at its busiest period. The RSPCA receives around 90,000 calls to its cruelty line every month but in the summer (July and August) calls rise to 134,000 a month and reports of cruelty soar to 7,600 each month - a devastating 245 every day.
Dogs are the most abandoned pet
Dogs were the most abandoned pet with 14,462 reports of dumped dogs made to the RSPCA last year.
One of these was Freya, who was thrown out of a truck driving at around 50mph, and abandoned in Yalding, Kent, in January this year.
It's a miracle that the frightened terrier wasn't seriously injured when she was thrown from the moving vehicle like a piece of rubbish. Thankfully, witnesses spotted Freya being dumped and she was taken to the vets who found her to be underweight, suffering from fleas with a matted, dirty coat. After discharging her, she was taken in by the charity for care and rehabilitation and has now found a loving new home.
Inspector Kirsten Ormerod, who launched an investigation into the incident, said:
Freya was incredibly lucky to survive after being hurled from the moving vehicle at such a high speed and vets were incredibly concerned that she may have suffered internal bleeding so performed surgery immediately.
Witnesses described her being thrown with such force that she landed on the opposite side of the road, and the vehicle didn't stop or even slow down.
Puppies left in a box
A staggering 20 puppies were found abandoned in a crate on a layby near Fryerning, Essex, on Friday 29 July.
The puppies were all inside a crate and were found by a kind-hearted member of the public who was walking in the Blackmore area on Friday at around 3pm.
The finder called the RSPCA and Inspector Sian Ridley and Animal Rescue Officer Enola Evans attended the call and discovered 20 small puppies shut in the metal crate.
They collected the pups and took them straight to a local vet for treatment. One of the puppies was very weak and was being kept warm by a member of the public when the officers arrived but sadly died.
The surviving pups were all small and each weighed less than a bag of sugar - there were 14 males and five females. It is believed they are from two or possibly more separate litters.
Cats are the second most abandoned pet
Cats were the second most abandoned pet with 10,051 reports of cats being callously dumped in 2021.
The RSPCA rescued a cat who was cruelly abandoned in a crisps box in Ferryhill.
The male tabby was discovered late on a Friday night in June in an alleyway at the back of Stephenson Street.
He was unharmed by his ordeal, but RSPCA Inspector John Lawson who attended the incident says the box could have easily been driven over by a passing vehicle.
A local resident took the cat into their home and then contacted the RSPCA and he is now being cared for at one of the charity's animal centres, where he has been named Stephen.
Residents in the area heard meowing coming from the alleyway and when they went outside found there was a cat inside this box. It was sellotaped shut, which would have been very distressing for the animal, although there was a small square opening at the top.
Stephen, who is around four-months old and was not microchipped, and has a distinctive white colouring on his chest and paws.
Four snakes abandoned in plastic boxes
There were also 3,363 abandoned exotic pets reported to the RSPCA including 1,455 fish and 685 snakes.
The RSPCA rescued four snakes who were found abandoned in plastic storage boxes that had been stacked up and left beside the road in Surrey.
A member of the public contacted the RSPCA after spotting the stack of storage boxes beside Partridge Lane, Charlwood, as she drove to work earlier this year.
Animal rescuer Chloe Wilson said:
The woman put them in her car and took them to work before calling us for help.
The four snakes were each inside their own plastic storage box lined with newspaper. Some of the snakes had bowls of water while others had DIY hides.
It was chucking it down so the top box was beginning to fill with water and the snake could have easily drowned. All of the snakes were dangerously cold having been out in the cold weather.
I collected them from the woman's workplace and rushed them to a specialist exotics facility where staff set about trying to carefully and safely warm them up.
The three Royal pythons and one corn snake will now remain in the care of the specialists.
Help us save animals from cruelty
The RSPCA received 1,081,018 calls to its Cruelty Line in 2021 and these included reports of:
- 1,094 killings or nearly three animals killed a day
- 632 mutilations or 12 animals brutally mutilated every week
- 7,857 beatings which equates to nearly one animal beaten every hour
Our frontline teams are working hard to rescue animals in need this summer but we can't do it alone - we need your help to Cancel Out Cruelty. To help support the RSPCA, donate online to our campaign.
If you cannot donate, there are other ways you can help Cancel Out Cruelty, from volunteering with the RSPCA, holding a bake sale or fundraiser, or taking part in the #50MilesForAnimals challenge.