Nearly 3,000 calls about animals suffering from neglect were made to the RSPCA in Wales last winter and the charity is bracing itself for thousands more.
While many people are busy Christmas shopping, going on winter walks or cooking a family dinner, others are having to make a call to the RSPCA.
The figures show the shocking reality that while most will be getting excited in the build up to Christmas, the work of the RSPCA never stops, and neglect is a major concern during the winter months.
Last winter the RSPCA took thousands of calls about neglected animals, which leaves the charity and its supporters asking: ‘Where’s the love?’
The charity has recently launched its ‘Love Animals, Hate Cruelty’ campaign which aims to bring these issues to the attention of our animal-loving nation and remind people that amongst the celebrations in the build up to the festive season, a huge number of calls are being made to report neglect.
From animals left without shelter or adequate food and water, to those left with painful untreated injuries or illness, statistics show that from October 2015 to January 2016 there were 2,987 calls were made to the RSPCA in Wales about animals suffering due to neglect. These calls were involving concerns of a total of 6,883 animals (one call/report can be about several animals).
The species that RSPCA in Wales received the most reports of neglect (Oct – Jan) were dogs, with 1,890 canines involved in the 2,987 calls.
RSPCA Cymru superintendent Martyn Hubbard said: “It’s a sad fact that every day at work throughout the year can be tough for our inspectors and animal welfare and collection officers, but winter really does come with its own challenges and issues. In fact, we expect to take in somewhere in the region of 19,000 animals this winter alone across England and Wales.
“The fact that last winter in Wales we received nearly 3,000 calls from people reporting neglect to animals is shocking especially when you add that to all the other calls we receive at the same time about other welfare issues. It really hits home just what we are up against.
“Issues such as animals not been provided with a suitable environment to shelter from the harsh weather and not being given enough food and water to keep them healthy despite the cold and damp are common complaints made to us.”
Sadly the RSPCA inspectorate in Wales receive calls of neglect on a daily basis. In December 2015 an emaciated and poorly dog was dumped in Newport. The dog was found in a collapsed, weak state just days before Christmas. He had been tied to a bin with a heavy chain and once discovered was rushed to a vets.
RSPCA inspector Selina Chan said: “This poor dog was emaciated, and his eyes were closed due to thick green pus. He was unable to stand due to his poor health.
“Sadly on independent veterinary advice the dog was put to sleep. He was microchipped, but the details were out of date so we were unable to track down his owner.” Unfortunately despite extensive enquiries the owner was not found.
In January 2016 a bearded dragon was found in a shoebox in an alleyway in Port Talbot with chronic metabolic bone disease. Metabolic disease is a sure sign that the animal has not been cared for properly and it can be fatal.
The bearded dragon also appeared to be missing part of his tail which is usually a result of fighting from other dragons. This was likely to be extremely painful for him and is why they must be housed alone. The bearded dragon was taken to an exotics specialist where he was examined by a vet. Sadly despite extensive enquiries the owner was not found.
Along with highlighting the winter issues faced by inspectors who are out on the ground tirelessly tackling animal cruelty and neglect, RSPCA Cymru is also reminding people that it’s not all doom and gloom – as a nation of pet lovers, it’s important to celebrate the love we have for not only our pets, but wildlife and farm animals too.
In fact, it’s the RSPCA’s love of animals that has helped so many terrible stories of neglect, abandonment and cruelty have a happy ending. Last year (2015) the RSPCA rehomed 1,750 animals in Wales.
To help the RSPCA to continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care, and to support the winter Love Animals, Hate Cruelty campaign, please visit: https://www.rspca.org.uk/getinvolved/donate/online