40 rabbits, sheep and a pig all abandoned in Liverpool

An animal rescue has issued a heart-breaking plea as staff become inundated with calls about unwanted or neglected pets.

Freshfields Animal Rescue has been helping unwanted and neglected animals, from dogs and cats to farm animals and wild birds, for over 40 years, but staff say they are "pretty much at full capacity" as they say everyone has a part to play. Many animals are desperately looking for their forever homes, but families "like to buy young" before realising they "cannot cope".

During the pandemic, many people found themselves at a loose end and bought animals to help towards the loneliness of lockdown. But once things got back to normal, people soon realised that it was a "mistake" or they were no longer able to afford the animal in their care.

Staff at the rescue are encouraging pet owners to seek help and "not be ashamed of their circumstances" as there is "no judgement" on anyone who wants to give their pet a better life than they can offer. They urge people to never abandon their animals.

Last year, two piglets were abandoned nearby in "such a bad condition" that one of them had to be put to sleep due to an infestation of maggots. Similarly, 20 rabbits were left abandoned outside the rescue at Ince Blundell.

A cat, now named Victoria, was found in Victoria Park in a cat house that was taped up and in a bin bag, found by an unexpecting litter picker. Staff are urging families to contact rescue centres and charities should they need help as "no animal should be left to fend for themselves".

But despite being inundated with calls, the rescue centre remains dedicated to help a variety of animals and is home to 10-year-old Jacob the sheep who has become a long-term resident and Jurgen the pig, who was found abandoned outside Anfield stadium.