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18/1/02
Cruel start for abandoned pets

Pet owners who have abandoned and dumped animals in the run-up to Christmas were branded callous and irresponsible by the RSPCA this week. RSPCA animal centres throughout England and Wales are already struggling to cope with the steady stream of unwanted animals being brought in by their owners in the weeks before Christmas, but the Society is alarmed at the number of pets that are still being cruelly abandoned.

The RSPCA's Head of Press, Ann Grain said: "People just seem willing to dump their pets when they become inconvenient or too much trouble, and it is the poor animals that end up paying the price, because their owners just haven't thought about the responsibility of owning a pet. It seems as though we are living in a throwaway society and animals are looked upon as being disposable."

The RSPCA quoted abandonment cases from 48 of its animal centres in England and Wales, which included:

• An eight-week-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy found in a terrible condition dumped in the middle of a supermarket car park in Carcroft, Doncaster.

• Two German Shepherd puppies discovered tied up on the M62 near Halifax.

• A ten-week-old puppy discovered abandoned in a box in a hedge in Doncaster on Boxing Day.

• Two Collie cross puppies found discarded in a box on wasteland in Penlan, Swansea.

• A young black and white cat found by a member of the public on Christmas Eve dumped in a skip in the Chesterfield area.

• A terrier cross puppy found on Christmas Day in a critical condition after being found shut inside a tea chest on an industrial estate at Bridgewater, Somerset.

• A 12-week-old puppy found freezing tied to a door of a police station in Skelmersdale, Lancashire.

• A five-month old collie cross puppy found on the banks of the river Afan near the village of Cymmer, South Wales.

• Two kittens - Holly and Ivy - found abandoned in a country lane in Burton-on-Trent on Christmas Day. They were taken to the RSPCA's branch animal home in Burton where they are waiting to be rehomed.

• Mary, a Jack Russell cross, found abandoned and heavily pregnant in Erdington, Birmingham, on Dec 23 who went on to give birth at the RSPCA animal hospital on Christmas Day to a litter of six puppies called: Angel, Holly, Joseph, Frank (incense - after one of the three kings), Peter and Santa.

• An elderly dog nicknamed Berry was found extremely emaciated and in a poor condition in a field near Oswestry, Shropshire, on New Year's Eve. Berry is now being cared for at a vets and is responding to treatment.

• Four puppies and two guinea pigs abandoned in a box outside a caravan park in Evesham on Dec 14. Five week old tan coloured terrier cross puppies - three bitches and a dog - were found at 6.30am and lucky to survive the night. They are now being cared for by the RSPCA's Cheltenham and East Gloucester branch. They had also had their tails docked, believed to be illegally.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: "The RSPCA would like to emphasise that anyone who feels they can no longer cope with an animal is urged not to abandon it, but to contact the Society or another reputable animal welfare organisation."

Anyone with any information on the above cases, or anyone wishing to re-home any of the animals highlighted, should phone 08705 555 999.