The RSPCA says animal abandonments have spiralled amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.
The animal welfare charity says numbers have reached a 'shocking' three year high and warns unwanted pets face a bleak winter.
In Kent, the charity is on course to receive 616 reports of animal abandonment this year - marking a 36.6 per cent rise on the number of reports received in the local community in 2020.
'William' the toy poodle and female chocolate labrador ‘Poppy’ - were discovered in a poor state in Maidstone in July. After some intensive care from the RSPCA the pair are ready to find their forever homes.
Dermot Murphy, who heads the RSPCA frontline rescue teams, said, “The combined effects of the pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis has created a perfect storm - and means we expect more animals than ever will need our help this year.""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."
In Hampshire, abandonments are up 19 per cent since 2020. Eleven guinea pigs were left in the New Forest in September. The four adults and seven babies were let loose close to Bramshaw Wood car park, near Nomansland.
RSPCA inspector Graham Hammond, who attended the incident, said: “The person who abandoned these vulnerable animals left them under two open wooden arches with only a pile of pellets and some carrots. It was a completely reckless and callous act.
“Nearby there would have been dogs off-lead and foxes too, so they would have stood no chance of fending for themselves had they not been picked up.”
East Sussex is on track for a 20.7 per cent rise in dumped pets.
A bearded dragon was saved after being found in freezing temperatures in a park. A member of the public found the reptile near the pavilion at Hailsham Cricket Club in March.
The lizard, who has been named Dave, went to a specialist RSPCA reptile facility before being rehomed.
Dermot Murphy said, “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 neglect and abandonment soars.”
This year the RSPCA is asking supporters to Join the Christmas Rescue by donating to help rescue teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need them.
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