RSPCA fears pets face being made homeless

Bosses at animal charity the RSPCA are concerned a surge in pet ownership could result in more unwanted animals – after they dealt with more than 4,600 reports of abandoned animals across the country last year.

Last winter, the charity received 4,650 reports of abandoned animals – including 229 in the West Midlands and 84 in Staffordshire.

The charity says reports of increased pet ownership, coupled with a deepening recession, could see more pets left out in the cold this year.

Already this November, there have been 985 reports of dumped and unwanted animals to the RSPCA cruelty line. It included 58 in the West Midlands and 27 in Staffordshire.

Dermot Murphy, head of the RSPCA’s animal rescue teams, said: “During the lockdown there have been reports of a rise in people buying or adopting new pets, often for the very first time.

Impulse

“Whilst it’s great that so many people have become pet owners and have found their pet to be a real source of comfort during these challenging times, we are concerned that some people may have bought a pet on impulse without considering how their lifestyle might change once the pandemic ends.

“On top of that, we are facing real economic uncertainties, and, as in previous recessions, people may simply find themselves unable to afford their pet.

“The last thing we want to see is animals dumped and left out in the cold so we’d urge anyone who is struggling to care for their pets to please reach out to friends, family and charities for support instead.”

A poll by the RSPCA, conducted by YouGov, revealed that just over one in ten – 11 per cent – pet owners had taken on a pet during lockdown and, of those, nearly one in ten – nine per cent – said that their pet had been more expensive than they had expected.

Just over one in 20 – six per cent – were worried about being able to afford them in the future.

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