May 24 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Rising numbers of pets are being abandoned as animals pay the price for their owners’ economic struggles, an animal charity has warned.
The RSPCA reported that 40,595 animals were abandoned in 2011, up from 24,638 in 2007 – a rise of nearly 65pc.
Chief executive Gavin Grant warned animals face “dark times” with charities in greater demand than ever and public generosity under severe pressure.
His concerns were echoed by Hillside Animal Sanctuary, in Frettenham, which says it has seen a surge in admissions, a drop-off in rehoming levels, and has had to launch fundraising appeals to meet its costs.
Founder Wendy Valentine said in a typical year the charity would take in 50 to 70 horses and ponies – this year they have already taken in 250.
She said: “There’s been a definite increase in the number of animals we are seeing.”
They include animals inherited from other sanctuaries which have had to close, animal abandonments and cruelty cases.
“We recently took in 80 horses from Wales – it was 20 from one place and 60 from another.
They were just wandering around a housing estate – the owner was abandoning them in other people’s fields, the fences weren’t good and they were straying all over the place.
“We were asked to take them rather than have them put to sleep.”
Sanctuaries are used to dealing with abandoned animals but Hillside has seen a “massive increase” in the past year, said Ms Valentine - something which can cause funding challenges.
“We are reliant on supporters to finance and fund looking after the abandoned animals.
“We are sort of hand to mouth as it is – we are not a wealthy sanctuary. We have to do special appeals to our supporters to keep going.”
The RSPCA also reported an increase in the length of time taken to rehome animals, leading to increased costs for the charity as a whole.
It is currently responding to over 25,000 calls a week and has seen a 23.5pc rise in cruelty convictions in the last five years.
Mr Grant said: “The recession may be over but these are very dark times for its silent victims – the animals. They have never needed our help so desperately.”