A desperate plea for ‘forever homes’ has been made by the RSPCA branches serving our area as the number of pets needing rehousing hits crisis point.
Vets are reporting at least four cats a week needing homes - and some owners, embarrassed they can no longer look after their pets, are taking them to centres in boxes claiming they have been found.
According to the area’s RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs the animals are the victims of the economic downturn.
He said: “This is by far our worst year. All of our homes are full to bursting. First there are cats, then small furries and dogs.
“For the hundreds in our centres needing a new home, there is the same number waiting to be rescued.
“It’s all part of the throw away society we live in. People are moving out of homes or being evicted and leaving pets behind.
“Others just can’t afford to look after them and have to give their pets up.”
Incidents of cruelty have also risen, with at one point 70 cats awaiting court proceedings at a special centre in Eye that normally only houses 40.
In August, a father-of-two who failed to look after two pets was banned from keeping animals for three years.
David Foreman, of Deeping St Nicholas, caused unnecessary suffering to his dog and cat.
Both animals were seized by the RSPCA on March 29 to be treated and rehomed.
Mr Stubbs said: “The emaciated dog was one of the worst cases I have ever seen.
“But cruelty doesn’t stop at starvation. People who can’t afford vets bills think they can cure their pet with baby oil or garlic.
“It’s all a massive problem. Once it was easy to find new homes. Now it takes a great amount of phone calls and a lot of begging.
“We would love to hear from anyone who could offer a loving forever home.
“Our work is also costly and doesn’t stop at rehoming pets. There’s a massive expenditure on prosecutions and amending laws to protect animals, so any fundraising help would be welcome too.”
The RSPCA invested a great deal of funding in handing out neutering vouchers. Mr Gibbs said: “You couldn’t even give them away. A lot of these were never used and so we still keep getting kittens by the box full.
“Then there are the websites like Gum Tree and Freecycle offering free pets to good homes. How can owners tell whether they are going to good homes where they will be cared for?
“After all the messages - and we are coming up to Christmas when there will be messages not to give pets people can’t afford to look after – things don’t get any better.
“More than heartbreaking – it is frustrating.”
To donate to the RSPCA’s urgent Animal Welfare Crisis Appeal text ‘Crisis’ to 70007 to give £5 (Text costs £5 + one standard network rate message), call the Emergency Appeal Line on 0300 123 8181 or go online and donate by visiting www.rspca.org.uk/ crisisappeal