The RSPCA has reported a three year high in animal abandonments, with the charity on course to see a 32.9 per cent increase in abandonment compared to 2020.
The animal rescue charity has voiced its concerns that a ‘winter crisis’ could see its rescue centres struggle to cope with more abandoned animals.
Newly released statistics reveal that the RSPCA had received 17,838 reports of abandoned animals by the end of October, with trends forecasting that this number could reach 21,417 by the end of 2023.
This would be a 32.9 per cent increase on statistics from 2020, when it received 16,118 reports of abandonment. It is also a rise on figures from 2021 (17,179) and 2022 (19,465)
October 2023 alone saw 1,800 incidents reported to the RSPCA, which is a higher number of reports than the same month in 2021 and 2022. It also marks a 48.1 per cent increase on October 2020, when 1,215 reports were made.
The charity believes that these trends could be the result of a ‘perfect storm’ for animal welfare emergencies. It says that the leap in pet ownership during the pandemic, followed by the ongoing cost of living situation, may have caused this increase in abandoned pets.
This could lead to the RSPCA experiencing a ‘winter crisis’, with rescue centres already struggling to cope with high numbers of rescued pets.
In response to these concerns the RSPCA has launched its ‘Join the Christmas Rescue’ campaign, for which it is appealing for donations to support rescue efforts.
Dermot Murphy, RSPCA inspectorate commissioner, said: "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.
“We’re desperately concerned about the coming winter months – abandonments have soared and many rescue centres are full to bursting, so we are facing an unprecedented winter crisis.
“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 abandonment soars.”
To donate to Join the Christmas Rescue, visit the website.
Image © RSPCA