RSPCA warns of rise in abandoned pets across Lancashire this winter after lockdown surge in ownership

The RSPCA is bracing itself for a surge in abandoned pets this winter after a rise in pet ownership in 2020.

By Phil Cunnington
Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 3:45 pm

The animal welfare charity also revealed that it received more than 180 reports of abandoned pets across Lancashire last winter, in the period from December 2019 to February 2020.

Last winter, the charity received 4,650 reports of abandoned animals nationwide, including 185 in Lancashire.

Already this November, there have been 985 reports of dumped and unwanted animals to the RSPCA’s cruelty line, including 40 in Lancashire. The charity says reports of increased pet ownership, coupled with a deepening recession could see more pets left out in the cold this year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The RSPCA is braced for a rise in the number of abandoned pets this winter

Dermot Murphy, head of the RSPCA’s animal rescue teams, said: “During the lockdown there have been reports of a rise in people buying or adopting new pets, often for the very first time.

“Whilst it’s great that so many people have become pet owners and have found their pet to be a real source of comfort during these challenging times, we are concerned that some people may have bought a pet on impulse without considering how their lifestyle might change once the pandemic ends. On top of that, we are facing real economic uncertainties, and, as in previous recessions, people may simply find themselves unable to afford their pet.

“The last thing we want to see is animals dumped and left out in the cold so we’d urge anyone who is struggling to care for their pets to please reach out to friends, family and charities for support instead.”

A poll by the RSPCA, conducted by YouGov revealed that just over one in ten (11 per cent) of pet owners had taken on a pet during lockdown and, of those, nearly one in ten (nine per cent) said that their pet had been more expensive than they had expected. Just over one in 20 (six per cent) were worried about being able to afford them in the future.

Dermot added: “We would always urge anyone considering getting a pet to thoroughly do their research to make sure they can give them the time, money and care they need for the rest of their lives. As the impact of the pandemic puts a strain on people’s finances and as many people start to return to work or some kind of normality, the fear is that we will see a surge in abandoned and neglected animals coming into our care.”

The most common concern reported to the RSPCA’s cruelty line last winter was neglect, with more than 76 reports a day relating to pain and disease (6,916) and 57 reports a day for unsuitable environments (5,134).

Since the start of lockdown, from March 23 until November 29, the RSPCA’s cruelty line has received 11,052 reports about abandoned animals.

The charity’s officers are out on the frontline 365 days a year to help those animals in need and this Christmas will be no exception. Donating just £25 could help keep our Animal Rescue Teams on the road.

This winter, the RSPCA expects to rescue thousands of animals from neglect, cruelty and suffering. To help our rescue teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need us, visit and Join the Christmas Rescue #JoinTheRescue

Support us and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.