THE number of abandoned animals reported to the RSPCA has risen for the fifth year running.
The charity took 28,162 calls about abandonments last year compared to 27,755 in 2010 and 21,481 in 2007, showing a 31 percent rise over five years.
The Northern region accounted for the highest number, with 9,055 calls.
Inspector Tony Woodley said: “Although it is tempting to blame the economic situation, we have no real idea of why the number of abandonments is increasing overall, but it is so frustrating to think that the messages about caring for animals just aren’t getting through to some people.”
However, there is some positive news as the number of calls received by the RSPCA in December, 1,997, was the lowest it has been since 2008. And the charity also received fewer calls in the first five days of January this year than last year, taking 313 this year and 390 in 2011.
In the Northern region there were 110 calls, compared to 118 last January.
Inspector Woodley said: “People might think they are doing the right thing, leaving their pets where they think they will be found, or they may feel they have no other option.
“Whatever the reason, owners have a legal responsibility to seek help for their animal and if this means making a bit of effort to find a good new home, or just waiting a few days until someone can take the animal in, this is what they must do.”
The RSPCA says people should only take on an animal when they are confident they can provide for it, they should neuter pets to reduce the chances of unwanted litters and microchip them so if they go missing they can be traced back. They should also make sure they can afford veterinary bills before taking on an animal.
To find out how to support the charity’s work, access information on microchipping or neutering, or find out how to rehome an animal visit www.rspca.org.uk or call 0300 123 4555.
To report a sick, injured or cruelly treated animal call 0300 123 4999.