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Festive dumping of pets begins early

MORE THAN 50 unwanted dogs and cats are being taken in by the RSPCA every day over the Christmas period, with the charity warning that ‘out with the old, in with the new’ regularly applies to pets at this time of year – and begins before Christmas.

The charity’s animal centres in England and Wales took in more than 1,500 cats and dogs in December 2006, either directly from members of the public, or abandoned. When other animals are included, the figure rises to over 2,200 – an average of 75 animals a day.

Other startling statistics show that:

* January sees an even greater rise in the numbers, with the charity expecting to take in more than 90 cats and dogs a day - a peak matched only by the summer months. These animals are not believed to generally be unwanted Christmas presents.

* Often there is ‘no room at the inn’ - at least another 50 unwanted dogs and cats a day have to be turned down by the charity as many of the animal centres are full to bursting

* The charity is currently taking 50 calls a day about abandoned animals, many of which may be left ‘home alone’ while their owners are away.