English shelters bursting with dumped animals

An animal charity has said its rescue centres in the south-west of England are "full to bursting".

The RSPCA said the number of abandoned animals had soared to a three-year high, with 1,089 pets projected to be abandoned across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset this year.

It said Cornwall was projected to see 191 reports of animal abandonment in 2023, compared with a total of 114 in 2020, an increase of more than 60%.

'Desperately concerned'

In Devon, the charity estimated 399 animals would be abandoned in 2023 - compared with 331 in 2020, an increase of about 20%.

Somerset was expected to see 295 cases of animal abandonment, up from 234 in 2020 (26%), the charity said.

Dorset was projected to see 204 cases, an increase on the 171 recorded in 2020 (19%), according to the RSPCA.

Dermot Murphy, from the charity's frontline rescue teams, said rescuers were "desperately concerned" for domestic animals in the colder months.

"The combined effects of the pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis has created a perfect storm - and means we expect more animals than ever will need our help this year," he said.

"Abandonment calls to our emergency line are now at a three-year high, as we respond to an increasing number of animals being given up and dumped."

Mr Murphy said every animal handed to the charity was in "urgent need of our help".

“We’re desperately concerned... abandonments have soared and many rescue centres are full to bursting, so we are facing an unprecedented winter crisis," he added.