Pets being 'callously' abandoned every day as RSPCA numbers up by nearly a quarter in Wales

Puppies Cinders (left) and Guy at Rochdale RSPCA centre, who were kicked and burned by a gang of youths.
Across England and Wales in 2021, the charity saw an average of four abandoned animals every hour. Credit: PA Images

The RSPCA has seen reports of abandoned pets increase by 23% in the first half of this year, when compared to last year.

The animal welfare charity saw 1,554 abandoned animal reports in Wales from January to July 2022.

It warns it is seeing multiple pets abandoned every day and fears this is only set to worsen due to the cost of living crisis coupled with a rise in pet ownership during the pandemic.

Across England and Wales in 2021, the charity saw an average of 104 reports of abandoned animals every day, or four abandoned animals every hour.

Last year In Wales there were 2,509 abandoned animals reported to the RSPCA. This included 279 alone in Rhondda Cynon Taf, 191 in Caerphilly and 190 in Swansea.

But this number has increased even further and is up by 23% in the first seven months of 2022.

The charity has released the stark figures as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty summer campaign, which aims to raise funds to help keep its rescue teams and centres running.

It added that dogs are the most abandoned pet, across England and Wales, with cats second.

In January this year, a bearded dragon died when he was abandoned in a layby near Maesteg Golf Club. Credit: RSPCA

One suspected incident of abandonment the RSPCA were called to assist with was a four-year-old terrier cross, who was found severely injured in Flintshire.

A couple had spotted the dog, later named Fenton, stumbling towards them as they drove along a country lane near Llansannan last August. 

Fenton was badly injured, exhausted and struggling with bleeding wounds on the side of his face and neck. The couple wrapped him in a towel belonging to their own dog and contacted the RSPCA.

They then took Fenton to the charity’s Bryn-y-Maen Animal Centre in Colwyn Bay.

Deputy centre manager Rachel Gibbs said: “Fenton was in an incredibly bad way. He was just lying on his side, almost lifeless in the footwell of the car.

"He had a lot of infected wounds - several of these were long-standing and looked like bites - and he was covered in thick dirt and unable to lift his head.”

The skin on Fenton’s toes had also been ripped from the underlying tissue, which suggested he may also have been hit by a car. 

After receiving life-saving treatment, Fenton needed more than three months of intensive treatment by staff at Bryn-y-Maen to ensure his wounds and skin were fully healed. The couple who had rescued him visited several times during his stay.

An appeal to find his owner was shared over 2,000 times on Facebook but no one came forward to claim the little dog, who the RSPCA suspected had been abandoned.

Luckily for Fenton, he was rehomed by a couple in Cheshire in November 2021.

Fenton is now enjoying life with a new family in Cheshire. Credit: RSPCA

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.”

A recent report released by the RSPCA in partnership with the Scottish SPCA also showed that the cost of living crisis is concerning pet owners.

The Animal Kindness Index showed that 78% of pet owners think the rising cost of living will impact their animals, almost seven out of 10 (68%) expressed concern that the cost of care was increasing and a fifth (19%) were worried about how they will afford to feed their pets.