Fears of a rise in animals being abandoned in Sussex
A leading animal charity is bracing itself for a surge in numbers of abandoned and neglected pets.
The RSPCA says that pet ownership soared during lockdown but it fears that a worrying rise in prices will now see more people dumping their animals.
Last December the RSPCA - which has its headquarters in Horsham - says it received one call every minute, one report of an abandoned animal every hour, and took 70 rescue animals into RSPCA care every day.
In West Sussex there were 23 reports of animals being abandoned last winter including nine in December.
A spokesperson said: “With the return to work, the end of furlough and the worrying rise we are seeing in prices and energy bills as we get closer to Christmas, we fear the increased stress and pressures will see a rise in abandonment, neglect and even abuse of animals.”
Dermot Murphy, who heads the RSPCA frontline rescue teams, said: “Our frontline rescue teams are braced for the worst this Christmas.
“We usually see two types of pet abandonment at Christmas and both are heartbreaking.
“Every year we get reports of people leaving their pets while they visit family and friends.
“This year is a four day holiday and many people will want to make-up for not being able to see family and friends so some animals will be left for days on their own to fend for themselves.
“It’s not acceptable to simply leave extra food and water for most pets if you are going away.”
He added: “It’s a sad reality that some pets will be turned out on the streets this Christmas and we are braced for even more of that happening as the bills are rising, there are presents to buy or the commitment needed to own a pet becomes too much.
“Please never abandon a pet. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.”