Our staff and volunteers have seen an alarming increase in animals being abandoned across England and Wales and expect the situation to get worse over the winter months.

Flytipped horse in Essex © RSPCAWe’ve been called out to deal with 29,770 reports of abandoned animals so far in England and Wales this year- an increase of 33 per cent since 2009.

A whopping 210,952 abandoned animals have been reported to us in the last five years. That’s enough to fill every seat in the Royal Albert Hall 40 times over.

RSPCA staff officer Dermot Murphy said:

“Even in a nation of animal lovers, there are thousands of people out there who don’t care about their pets at all. In fact, some literally treat them like rubbish.


“Worse still, holidays  like Christmas can lead to an increase in abandonments as some people choose to get rid of their pets rather than pay for them to be looked after while they are on holiday.


“Money may be spent on holidays and Christmas presents rather than seeking vet attention for ill or newborn animals, so they are dumped.


“It’s bad enough when we find a box of kittens wrapped in blankets on our doorstep with a note, but now people are deliberately dumping their animals in out of the way places – like bins, skips or on waste ground – and leaving them to an unknown fate.”

Heartbreaking cases of animal abandonment

We’ve released a list of the most unusual and heartbreaking cases of animals that have been abandoned since last winter. Including:

  • A very ill horse wrapped in an industrial waste bag and left in an alleyway behind a housing estate.
  • Ten freezing kittens dumped in a box in the middle of a field.
  • An elderly dog with tumours the size of apples tied to a railing and abandoned.
  • A cat dumped in a taped-up washing basket and left inside a wheelie bin next to a dual carriageway.
  • Four degus dumped in a cage behind some bins next to a layby.
  • Two puppies left to die in a box on a roadside embankment next to a fast food restaurant.
  • Exotic animals such as geckos, rare tortoises and a boa constrictor dumped in boxes and bins.
  • A cat tied up, with a plastic bag taped over her head and dumped in a bottle bin.
  • A puppy, who was caught on CCTV being dumped by her owner outside the gates of the RSPCA Birmingham Animal Centre and Hospital. The heartbreaking footage shows the distraught puppy chasing after her owner’s car as it sped away.

Stay vigilant for abandoned animals

Kittens dumped in heavy rain © RSPCA

The list is a startling reminder that some really do view animals as commodities that can be discarded without a moments thought. We’re urging people to stay vigilant and alert us if they notice boxes, bins or bags that could contain abandoned animals.

We’ve also released a list of the worst places in the country for abandoning animals – with Greater London coming highest in the ranking for England and Gwent taking the top spot for Wales.

We’re expecting around 140,000 calls in November and December alone, with around 50,000 animals needing help between now and Christmas. That’s why we’ve launched a winter campaign which will look at all aspects of the challenging winter work we face. From the rise in abandonments to weather-related rescues and even the increase in violence towards animals in the countdown to the Christmas period.

We can’t do it without you

To help support our winter campaign, please donate online or text RESCUE to 70800 to give £3.

(Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message. Text to donate terms and conditions).