Lincolnshire RSPCA staff fear a rise in animal neglect this winter
Frontline animal welfare staff say they are concerned about a rise in neglect cases following Christmas.
A survey has found that 87% of frontline RSPCA officers worried there will be more neglect this winter.
In Lincolnshire there were 292 reports of animals being neglected last winter - including 104 reports in December.
Rescuers at the charity, who are out 365 days a year helping animals in need, fear that the rise in pet ownership during the pandemic and pets bought on impulse will result in more animals being neglected this year. 84% are also concerned more people are taking on pets without understanding how to care for them.
Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer, said: “The RSPCA rescue teams are out 365 days a year in all weathers saving neglected and abandoned animals. This year we are concerned that the rise in pet ownership could mean some have taken on pets on impulse which may lead to more people abandoning or neglecting their animals. We will be out there every day this Christmas for the animals who need us most, bringing them to safety, but we can’t do it alone. We rely entirely on donations to keep our rescue teams on the road.
“With a cost of £245 a day to keep a frontline rescuer on the road this Christmas, We’re calling on animal lovers to to help keep our teams out on the frontline, doing whatever it takes to rescue every animal we can.”
In the run up to Christmas, RSPCA inspectors and animal rescue officers - who work throughout the year helping animals who are facing cruelty, neglect, abandonment or injury - were surveyed about their biggest fears for animals this Christmas.
Being able to provide appropriate care for pets topped the reasons the officers worry animals will be abandoned or neglected this Christmas - with 95% listing the cost of care, including vet and grooming costs as their number one reason for neglect.
Heartbreakingly, the survey also revealed that the RSPCA rescuers believed loss of interest in a pet is a contributing factor to abandonments and neglect at this time of year, with 82% saying they feel it is the main reason for abandonments, and 74% believing it is a major cause of neglect.
There were 3,916 reports of animal neglect in December, with 12,344 throughout the winter across England and Wales.
The charity has launched its Christmas appeal Join the Christmas Rescue to help be there for animals in need this festive season.