RSPCA: Animal abandonments have soared in Devon, Bristol and Gloucestershire

The number of abandoned animals has sky rocketed according to the RSPCA. Credit: RSPCA.

There has been a huge increase in the number of animals being increased across the southwest, according to the RSPCA.

The charity is warning of a "perfect storm" caused by the pandemic and the cost of living crisis, which is leaving "thousands of vulnerable animals" without a home.

It has found that the number of pets being abandoned in Bristol this year has soared by 68.3%, compared to 2020.

This means the charity is on track to record 163 reports of animals in need in the city by the end of the year.

It has also found animal abandonments in Devon have increased by 20.4% compared to 2020, meaning it is estimated that it will record 399 reports by the end of the year.

In Gloucestershire, it has seen a 15.7% rise, leading to an estimated 225 reports of animals being abandoned by the end of the year.

It comes as the RSPCA has recorded 17,838 reports of abandoned animals across England and Wales so far this year - compared to 16,118 reports during the whole of 2020. This means the charity is on course to see an eye-watering 32.9% rise in abandonment calls this year.This figure is also higher than the number of reports received in 2021 (17,179) and 2022 (19,645).

RSPCA: 'We are facing an unprecedented winter crisis'

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.“Behind these shocking statistics are thousands of vulnerable animals. Each one is a valuable life in urgent need of our help."

The charity has said it managed to save eight rabbits after it found ten of the animals abandoned on Dartmoor in January. Sadly, one adult rabbit and a baby were found dead.

Some of the rabbits that were rescued from Dartmoor by the RSPCA. Credit: RSCPA.

RSPCA Inspector Claire Ryder and RSPCA Animal Rescue Volunteer Dawn Lapthorn took the surviving rabbits to a vet before they were moved to a rescue centre for rehoming.

More recently, the RSPCA in Gloucestershire received a call after the bodies of five Staffordshire bull terrier puppies were found dumped in Newent Lake.

RSPCA inspector Jon Ratcliffe said: “The poor puppies' bodies were found in the water, with one placed inside a white sock. They still had their umbilical cords attached. 

"We think it is likely the pups were dumped at this location in the hours or days leading up to their discovery.”

A puppy that was abandoned in Cornwall - now the RSPCA is warning of a 'perfect storm'. Credit: RSCPA.

Speaking about these kinds of rescues, Dermot Murphy added: “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."