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The RSPCA has revealed that the number of abandoned animals being reported to them is on the rise, with the charity fearing that the cost of living crisis could mean even more animals being given up this year.

In 2021, the animal charity revealed that 499 abandoned animals were reported to them in Leicestershire. However, this year has already seen a dramatic increase in that figure, with 401 abandonment reports already having been made across the county.

Picture: RSPCA

Alarmingly, the number of animals being dumped is also on the rise with a 17 per cent increase from 2020 to 2021 and a 24 per cent increase in 2022.

The charity fears that a huge rise in pet ownership during the pandemic, coupled with the cost of living crisis putting a strain on people’s finances means even more animals are being given up this year.

It has released the stark figures as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty summer campaign which aims to raise funds to keep its rescue teams on the frontline saving animals in desperate need of help as well as raise awareness about how we can all work together to stop cruelty for good.

Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer at the RSPCA, said: “The idea of putting your cat in a cat carrier and taking them to a secluded spot in the woods before walking away, or chucking your dog out of the car and driving off leaving them desperately running behind the vehicle, is absolutely unthinkable and heartbreaking to most pet owners – but sadly we are seeing animals callously abandoned like this every single day. 

“We understand that sometimes the unexpected can happen – the pandemic and cost of living crisis proved that – but there is never an excuse to abandon an animal. There are always other options for anyone who has fallen on hard times and can no longer afford to keep their pet.”

A recent report released by the RSPCA in partnership with the Scottish SPCA also showed that the cost of living crisis is the most urgent threat to pet welfare in the UK.

The Animal Kindness Index* showed that 78 per cent of pet owners think the cost of living will impact their animals, almost seven out of 10 (68 per cent) expressing concern that the cost of care was increasing, and a fifth (19 per cent) worried about how they’ll afford to feed their pets. The study also showed cat owners seem to be most impacted and concerned about cost of living pressures.

This worrying survey comes at a time when the charity is at its busiest period. The RSPCA receives around 90,000 calls to its cruelty line every month but in the summer (July and August) calls rise to 134,000 a month and reports of cruelty soar to 7,600 each month – a devastating 245 every day.

Dogs were the most abandoned pet with 14,462 reports of dumped dogs made to the RSPCA last year. Cats were the second most abandoned pet with 10,051 reports of cats being callously dumped in 2021. There were also 3,363 abandoned exotic pets reported to the RSPCA including 1,455 fish and 685 snakes.

In Leicestershire, a cat was abandoned in a repossessed flat before being rescued by the RSPCA.

Picture: RSPCA

The flat in Leicester had been repossessed and then bought at auction but when the buyer visited the property a couple of days later, he found a cat living inside. It was clear that the poor black and white female cat had been left behind by the previous owners as there was a litter tray brimming with faeces and empty food and water bowls.

The RSPCA was contacted and Inspector Herchy Boal attended the property in Medina Road in March. She gave the cat some food and water and then sealed the door to see if someone still owned, or was checking on the cat, but the seals weren’t broken and Herchy soon realised the cat, now called Bo, had been abandoned.

She said: “Thankfully, we were able to rescue her and she’s doing really well but this could have had a much sadder ending had she been left any longer.”

From January to July 2021, nationally there were 18,375 abandonment reports compared to 22,908 in the first seven months of this year – a rise of 24 per cent.

The RSPCA received 1,081,018 calls to its Cruelty Line in 2021 and these included reports of;

  • 1,094 killings or nearly three animals killed a day
  • 632 mutilations or 12 animals brutally mutilated every week
  • 7,857 beatings which equates to nearly one animal beaten every hour.

To find out more, and to help with the cause, visit: