RSPCA Cymru 'braced' for surge in abandoned pets as owners struggle in aftermath of pandemic

RSPCA Cymru fears the economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic could lead to more reports of abandoned animals in Wales. Credit: PA Images

RSPCA Cymru said it is "bracing itself" for a steep rise in the number of abandoned animals in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

The animal welfare charity normally sees the number of abandoned animals rise during the summer months, but fears the crisis will result in even more owners deserting their pets.

During the three months since lockdown began, the RSPCA has received reports regarding almost 3,500 abandoned animals across Wales and England. That amounts to around 40 calls a day.

The most frequently deserted animal were dogs, with more than 1,500 reports.

The RSPCA received 1,165 reports of abandoned cats during the three months since lockdown began. Credit: PA Images

Charities have been warning people to think twice about buying a pet, after online searches about getting a puppy surged by 120 per cent at the start of lockdown.

Dogs Trust changed its famous slogan to "a dog is for life, not just for lockdown".

Animals have been there to help us through the crisis, please don’t abandon them now.

Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer, RSPCA

The head of the RSPCA’s animal rescue teams said pets have become a source of comfort for those struggling through the pandemic.

Less than two weeks before lockdown started, three helpless rabbits were rescued by the RSPCA after being discovered in a Morrisons supermarket in Barry.

Two were found inside a supermarket trolley, with a third in a crisp box placed in the trolley. All three rabbits have since been rehomed.

Dermot Murphy added: "Fortunately during this time we’ve dealt with fewer abandoned pets however we are worried that as lockdown eases, people return to work, go on holidays or struggle financially we will be facing a massive surge of animal abandonments.

"This is the toughest year yet for the RSPCA despite the huge challenges, our amazing teams have been continuing to rescue animals throughout this crisis. I’d urge anyone struggling with their pet to ask for help."