MORE people are giving up their pets at a time when fewer people are adopting, raising fears of an ‘animal rescue crisis’.
In Worcestershire, the total number of rehomed animals fell by 17%, from 351 in 2020 to 289 in 2021.
The number of dogs fostered fell by 85%, from 39 in 2020 to six in 2021; cats fell 8% from 272 to 250; and other pets dropped 79% from 24 to 5 years old.
Only rabbits resisted the trend with 75% more repatriations in 2021 (28 against 16).
Animal welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: ‘It is truly concerning that animals are staying in our care longer and fewer are being rehomed year on year.
Unfortunately, we think we are really starting to see the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis.
“Many of the animals – especially dogs – in our care have behavioral issues which could be linked to the way they were raised as well as the lockdown limiting the amount of training, socialization and experience of the outside world they had.
“We’re also starting to see more animals being given to us because their owners simply can’t afford to care for them anymore; or, in the most extreme cases, having been neglected or abandoned due to the rising cost of pet care.
“Unfortunately, this is happening at the same time as potential pet owners are deciding that now is not the best time to get a pet due to the skyrocketing cost of living and they feel that they can’t financially commit to adding a pet to their family at such a time.” a worrying time.
“For those who are able to bring a pet into their home, we urge them to really consider adopting rather than buying.
“Many of our animals will already be neutered, vaccinated and treated for fleas and worms – which will make this much more cost effective – and we will work with them to make sure they find their perfect partner.”
The RSPCA has launched its annual Adoptober campaign to combat this problem, encouraging would-be pet owners to rescue animals in need of homes.