Winter welfare crisis fears as rising animal abandonment causes concern for RSPCA

A winter welfare crisis over the rising numbers of animal abandonment is causing concern for rescue charity the RSPCA.

Thursday, 2nd December 2021, 12:43 pm

It comes as recent figures revealed there were 62 reports of animals being abandoned last winter in Nottinghamshire - including 20 last December.

The RSPCA, which has a shelter at Radcliffe on Trent, has launched a Christmas appeal for help as the charity braces itself for a surge of abandoned and neglected animals.

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Happy ending Molly Moo after she was rescued by the RSPCA and later found a loving home with family in Leicester

With 3,004 abandonment incidents in England and Wales last winter, 1,018 of those during December, the charity fears that rising abandonment rates will see more animals facing a bleak winter.

In December 2020, there were 51,815 calls, with 770 calls received on Christmas day, 1,091 on Boxing Day and 1,691 calls on New Year’s Eve last year.

Abandonments rose by around 20 per cent this year, as compared to 2020’s figures and during recent months the charity is worried that soaring pet ownership during the pandemic could mean a surge in unwanted dogs and cats as people return to normal working life.

An estimate of more than 3.2m people took on new pets during the pandemic.

Poor Molly Moo, who was dumped like rubbish at the side of a busy road. The ten-year-old German Shepherd cross mastiff was in a pitiful state when she was found.

With the return to work, the end of furlough and rises in the cost of living, prices and energy bills as Christmas approaches, the RSPCA now fears increased stress and pressures on households, could lead to a rise in abandonment, neglect and even abuse of animals.

It says abandonment levels have risen to almost pre-pandemic levels and this festive season could be even busier for the charity.

Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer, said: “After another exceptionally tough year, this Christmas, more than any, should be a time for joy and togetherness. A time to be safe inside, loved and protected from the cold.

Steve, a young lurcher, rescued by the RSPCA after being found abandoned on a cold, dark night last Christmas. He’d been tied to a lamp post at a bus stop, clearly in pain with what turned out to be a badly broken right leg. He luckily later found a loving home.

“But for thousands of innocent animals this is sadly not the case. Cruelly treated, neglected and abandoned, many face a Christmas of continued abuse or slow starvation, without warmth or affection.

"We are often their only hope, so we must do whatever it takes to rescue animals who desperately need us and stop their suffering.”

The charity is appealing for help. It costs £245 a day to keep a frontline rescuers on the road over Christmas.

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