RSPCA 'rehomed just one in three rescue animals' in 2017

‘Every animal that comes into our care deserves a loving forever home,’ the RSPCA says on its website. But in 2017, the country’s largest animal charity provided new homes to just 44,611 creatures – barely a third of the 115,000 it rescued.

The figure – a sharp drop from the 70,000 it rehomed in 2009 – has reignited concerns that the RSPCA is too quick to euthanise animals entrusted to its care.

The RSPCA insisted that ‘no healthy, rehomeable dogs, cats, rabbits or horses were put to sleep’ – but was unable to provide details of the fate of the 70,000 animals that could not be found homes.

The RSPCA has previously admitted that it wrongly euthanised some animals.

In 2016, it was forced to apologise to a family whose cat it destroyed after neighbours raised concerns about its hair being too long. 

The family said that the animal hated being groomed and its fur could only be trimmed under anaesthetic.

An RSPCA spokesman said: ‘Euthanasia is always a last resort and only used to alleviate the suffering of an animal when there are no other options. We will always do whatever is possible to give that animal a second chance, through rehoming or release into the wild.’

Since the news was originally released, the RSPCA provided the following statement: 'This report we rehome only one in three rescue animals is misleading because a more than half the animals we help, such as livestock, wildlife and animals with loving owners, do not need rehoming.

'We found homes for eight out of ten pets rescued [in 2017]. Of those not rehomed some are in foster care, some went to other charities for rehoming, some cannot be rehomed until court cases end and sadly a small proportion were put to sleep by vets for legal reasons or on expert advice because they had suffered such awful neglect and abuse they were left mentally and physically scarred and could not recover despite all our efforts.'