The RSPCA is warning of a summer abandonment crisis with an 85% increase in the number of reports about dumped animals in summer months.
The oldest and biggest animal welfare charity in England and Wales is expecting to see a huge rise in calls about abandoned pets, often dumped in boxes, thrown in bins or left on the side of the roads.
Throughout June, July and August last year, the RSPCA received 23,673 calls about dumped animals like Mia (pictured) which equates to one call every 6 minutes. This is an increase of at least 85% on the number of animals reported abandoned during the colder months.
Dermot Murphey, RSPCA’s Chief Inspectorate Officer, said: “Sadly, we see a dramatic increase in the number of animals abandoned in the summer. From unwanted kittens and puppies dumped in boxes and bins, exotic pets cast aside, or horses abandoned in someone else’s field, dumped like rubbish.
“There’s never an excuse to abandon an animal in this way and we would urge anyone who is struggling to cope with their pets to contact us or other charities for help. Our pets are sentiment beings and great companions who rely on us for their health and happiness so dumping them like an old mobile phone or a piece of rubbish should never be the answer.
“The peak in animals being abandoned in the summer puts a massive strain on our inspectors, animal centres and branches who are left picking up the pieces when an animal is dumped.”
It is not clear why the figures rise so dramatically in the warmer months, but it may be that abandoned animals are more visible when people are out and about, that people feel less guilty about leaving them alone when the weather is warmer or even that some people dump their pets when they go away on holiday and have nowhere for them to go.
Among those abandoned last year was puppy Mia who was found in Hanwell Cemetery in Westminster in July during one of the hottest weeks on record.
The tiny eight-week-old pup was found among the headstones by a kind member of the public who contacted the RSPCA. Despite an appeal, the RSPCA was never able to trace who had dumped her, but Mia went into RSPCA care and received the care she needed.
Now at 10 months old, she is living in her forever home with Jake Holliday, a clinic coordinator at RSPCA Putney Animal Hospital in London.
Jake takes Mia, now named Sienna-Blue to work with him every day and says she is a clever, friendly and well-behaved dog who has so much love to give.
Jake said: “We don’t know if she remembers being abandoned as she was so young, but you can’t help but think it has had some effect on her. When you’re sitting with her she has to be physically touching you with a paw or resting her head on your lap – she’s so affectionate and needs attention.
“She always gets excited when she gets to see Mike, the Inspector who rescued her. I don’t know if she remembers him as the man who rescued her, but it’s clear that she definitely has a soft spot for him.”
The number of abandoned animals reported in summer 2018, by county, were:
Cambridgeshire – 2,743
Greater London – 1,696
West Midlands – 1,152
West Yorkshire – 930
Merseyside – 890
Greater Manchester – 855
Durham – 770
South Yorkshire – 707
Essex – 699
Lincolnshire – 685
The RSPCA offer advice to pet owners who are struggling to care for their pets and what they can do:
- Ask friends and family for help
- If you’re going on holiday and there is no one around to care for your pets, try using a pet sitting service like Rover.com. Pet owner can search for and book trusted sitters in their local area, plus for every new customer booking, the RSPCA receives £1 to help more animals.
- Contact your vet about payment plans, discount or vouchers for neutering or any other treatment needed.
- Get in touch with local rehoming charities for advice.
- Visit the RSPCA website for advice on welfare.
To help the RSPCA continue to rescue animals like Mia you can visit www.rspca.org.uk/summercrisis.