More pets abandoned as recession hits

THE number of animals abandoned in the east of England has risen by more than 80 percent in the last year, new figures by the RSPCA have revealed.

Kate McGrath

THE number of animals abandoned in the east of England has risen by more than 80 percent in the last year, new figures by the RSPCA have revealed.

Pets have become the latest victims of the recession with soaring numbers of unwanted animals being dumped with the RSPCA because owners can't afford to look after them.

Last year, the animal welfare charity dealt with 2,567 abandoned animals in the east compared to 1,417 in 2007.


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The number of calls from members of the public wanting to give up an animal is also up by 52 percent - and the problem looks set to rise.

Suzie Graham, regional manager for the RSPCA, said regional centres were running at their highest capacity.

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“The biggest problem we have is finding the space for animals if people decide to give up,” she said.

“Then we have the problem of people in financial difficulty who come to the branches for assistance with money but because we are not getting as many donations we are unable to help.

“The biggest reason for dumped animals is the fact people can't afford them. It is heart breaking for the majority of people to give up their pets. People know that if they cannot look after their pet the kindest thing is to leave them under the care of the RSPCA.”

In addition to the increased workload, the RSPCA said it was under pressure financially because of a reduction in donations while income from legacies also took a hit following the fall in property prices.

Becky Fox, deputy manager of the RSPCA Animal Home in Martlesham, said: “There is extreme pressure in our job.

“We have to help the animals whilst help members of the public. We are always full to capacity but the reasons why the animals are abandoned these days is a lot to do with the financial situation.”

The RSPCA Week began yesterday and is aimed at raising awareness and calls on the public to help secure funds for its rehoming work, or to serve as volunteers or foster carers for the pets.

Tim Wass, chief officer of the RSPCA inspectorate, said: “Now more than ever we need the public's support.

“It is a challenging time for the RSPCA, but more importantly it is a crisis out there for the animals, and it's only because of the public's help that we're able to do what we can.”

* To rehome an animal or make a donation to the RSPCA visit www.ipswich-rspca.org or contact 01473 623280 .

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