Suffolk: Cherub the dog abandoned as number of pets dumped rises in the eastern region

RISING numbers of animals are being abandoned in the eastern region as owners cannot afford to keep their pets due to the hard economic times.

Cherub the dog is the latest victim in a rising trend of pets being dumped, abandoned or handed in at RSPCA centres, a new report has shown.

The young Staffordshire Bull Terrier was left alone in the dark without food or water for almost a week after her owners boarded her up inside an abandoned house in Suffolk.

She was discovered by an RSPCA inspector last Wednesday after concerned neighbours contacted the charity’s national control centre.

Now recovering at the RSPCA’s animal centre at Martlesham, Cherub lost all her fur in the episode, in which she was trapped inside a conservatory and left to die.

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Becky Fox, acting manager at the shelter, said this was the worst case of cruelty she had seen in 10 years.

“This is the worst case I have ever seen,” she said. “She just looks terrible.

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“We are not easily shocked but seeing Cherub brought in like that brought tears to my eyes.

“It is horrific to think she has been left to get into that state.

“She is such a lovely soul.”

Cherub is the latest in a rising tide of abandoned animals being left with the RSPCA, according to the charity’s annual animal welfare report published today.

In the last year, 4,347 animals were abandoned in the eastern region compared with 3,722 in 2009.

Similarly, the number of animals which were rescued and collected by the charity reached 26,653 in 2010 compared with 26,048 in 2009.

“It is financial,” Miss Fox said. “We saw a rise in abandoned animals because of the recession and it is getting worse.

“People are not looking after their pets so we are also seeing a rise in ill health.”

Staff at the centre are now caring for Cherub, named for her sweet nature, but she is just one of many who have been mistreated.

Nationally, the RSPCA collected 13,097 dogs, 547 horses and 9,719 cats last year.

“Cherub’s case is extreme but it does go on,” Miss Fox said. “It makes you frustrated and a bit angry.

“It is very sad to think people can’t afford to keep their pets.

“Unfortunately, people are very quick to pass on responsibility of their animals to us.”

Although the numbers of animals which need the vital centre’s help are rising, the charity’s Suffolk East and Ipswich Branch, which runs the centre, faces a chronic funding shortfall.

It costs the branch �1,000 a day to run the centre at Martlesham and its animal clinic in Ipswich – but its operations only bring in half that amount.

The charity relies heavily on donations and legacies from the public to pay for its services but the organisation can no longer help owners to pay vets bills, which could be making the situation worse.

Sue Southgate, a trustee of the branch and volunteer, said: “It seems a lot of animals are coming in because people can’t afford to pay for them.

“They are victims of the recession.The last year has been dire for us.We s imply don’t have the funds to help people with their vets bills anymore.”

For more details about the centre, call 01473 623280 or visit

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