More than 1000 reports of abandoned animals made to RSPCA last year in South Yorkshire

These kittens were so young when they were abandoned that their eyes hadn't even opened yet. Credit: RSPCA

More than 1,000 abandoned animals were reported to the RSPCA in South Yorkshire last year, according to new figures.

Among their number were four kittens who were dumped in a box in an alleyway in Doncaster. The two boys and two girls were so young when they were abandoned that their eyes hadn't even opened yet.

Animal Rescue Office Liz Braidley took the kittens to an RSPCA centre after they were spotted by a member of the public. She said: "These kittens were far too young to be away from their mum at just a week or so old. They were dumped like rubbish and left in a box in an alleyway in Doncaster without any food or water.

"Thankfully, they were spotted when they were and we were able to care for them.”

They were hand reared by fosterers at the RSPCA Doncaster, Rotherham and District branch until they were ready to be rehomed.

The RSPCA says the number of animals being dumped is on the rise with a 17% increase from 2020 to 2021 and a 24% increase in 2022.

So far this year, nearly 900 abandonment reports have been made South Yorkshire, including eight Giant African snails which were found dumped in Sheffield.

The snails, whose normal habitat is among tropical wetlands and forests in sub-Saharan Africa, were discovered in bushes at Hartley Brooke Dyke in the Firth Park area by a member of the public in March.

In many countries, Giant African land snails are considered an invasive species with a voracious appetite for plants and can damage crops. Credit: RSPCA

The snails were taken for specialist care at an exotic animal centre.

The RSPCA fears the huge rise in pet ownership during the pandemic coupled with rising costs is making the problem of animal abandonment worse.

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.”