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Animal abandonment incidents soar across Wales

22 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Dog abandoned in Deeside. Image: RSPCA

Stephen Price

Animal abandonment incidents have soared to a three year high in Wales as the RSPCA warns unwanted pets face a bleak and uncertain winter.

The animal welfare charity has released new statistics that demonstrate a spiralling rate of abandonments amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Already this year, the charity has received over 17,838 reports of abandoned animals across England and Wales – which, if such trends continue, would equate to 21,417 reports over 2023. 

This compares with 16,118 reports during the whole of 2020, meaning the RSPCA is on course to see an eye-watering 32.9 percent rise in abandonment calls this year. Higher too than the number of reports received in 2021 (17,179) and 2022 (19,645).

While in Wales specifically, abandonment reports have risen 61% – from 997 in 2020 to a projected 1,610 this year. This is compared to 1,192 reports in 2021 and 1,419 in 2022.

Individual stories

Behind these statistics are thousands of vulnerable animals, such as the female Shih Tzu photagraphed above who was found on a driveway in Shotton near Deeside in a pet carrier and with heavily matted fur.

Luckily, she was found by the homeowners who took her to a vet, who subsequently called the RSPCA. After she was trimmed and given veterinary treatment, she was transferred to RSPCA Bryn Y Maen Animal Centre and has since found her forever home.

Among the thousands of other cases were puppies found abandoned in a plastic bag near Cross Hands in April and a cat and her kittens found abandoned in a freezer bag outside a vets in Ely.

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.

Unprecedented Crisis

Dermot continued: “We’re desperately concerned about the coming winter months in Wales. 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.”

This year, the RSPCA is asking supporters to Join the Christmas Rescue by donating to help rescue teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need them.


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