Thousands called animal charity helpline to give up their pets

An animal welfare charity says it has received more than 4,000 calls from people wanting to give up their pets.

The Scottish SPCA said the annual figure had tripled in a single year since 2021.


The charity said it was down to the cost of living crisis, with most callers to its helpline blaming financial issues including vet bills.

It said some people were having to choose between feeding themselves or their pets.

The animals involved, and the number of calls, were:

Dogs: Up from 549 in 2021 to 1,429 in 2022

Cats: Up from 439 to 900

Rabbits: Up from 185 to 407

Exotics: Up from 25 to 56

Guinea pigs: Up from 53 to 146

Snakes: Up from 14 to 42

Rats: Up from 16 to 54

The Scottish SPCA said the past year was one of the most challenging in its history.

Chief executive, Kirsteen Campbell, said: "We saw first-hand how people were having to choose between feeding themselves or their animal, or making the heart-breaking decision to give their pet up.

"The best thing for animal welfare is to keep a human and a pet together, and that's what our overriding ambition is through this crisis."

The Scottish SPCA launched Pet Aid last August. The service works with local food banks and community projects to provide pet supplies to people in need.

Last year its animal rescue officers responded to 86,078 reports, more than 235 per day.

It also launched 124 investigations into the puppy trade, 52 investigations into the illegal ear cropping of dogs and 72 probes into animal fighting and badger baiting.

The charity's National Wildlife Rescue Centre treated 4,908 wild animals, 74% of which were successfully released back to the wild.