The number of unwanted pets dumped by their owners is on the increase. New figures for 2006 show the number of animals rescued by the RSPCA has risen by 44%.
Andy Foxcroft, Chief Officer of RSPCA inspectorate, said: ‘We rescue a staggering number of animals from a wide range of difficult, distressing and often surprising situations each year. But what strikes me particularly about our latest figures is the huge number of animals we rescue simply because their owners no longer want them.
‘With the new Animal Welfare Act now in force - which means owners are legally obliged to find out about their pet's particular needs and care for it properly - we really hope more people will consider the full responsibility they are taking on before getting an animal. Hopefully this will mean the RSPCA rescuing fewer unwanted animals.’
Typical RSPCA rescues in 2006 include the case of four Staffordshire Bull Terrier pups that were discovered by a dog walker in November. They had been dumped in a cardboard box on a damp blanket in woods near the A1073 in the Peak Hill area, near Cowbit, Lincolnshire.
The dogs were taken to a boarding kennel, then collected by an RSPCA animal collection officer who took them to the RSPCA Woodside Animal Centre in Leicester. The two brindle-coloured bitches, a brindle dog and a black and white dog were aged between six and eight weeks old.
RSPCA Animal Collection Officer Alan Horan said: ‘This is a quiet area where there are very few passers-by so these dogs were lucky to have been found. Had they been there for much longer, particularly in cold temperatures, they would have had little chance of surviving.’