THE number of animals being abandoned in Dorset has soared in 2023, according to new figures.
Animal welfare charity the RSPCA says incidents have skyrocketed across England and Wales so far this year, reaching 17,838 – a three-year high.
The charity said the rise comes amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.
The total, more than 17,000 to the end of October, compares to 16,118 reports during the whole of 2020.
Across 2023, the number of expected reports of animals being abandoned is set to eclipse totals in 2021 (17,179) and 2022 (19,645).
And in Dorset, the charity is on course to receive 204 reports of animal abandonment this year – marking a 19.4% rise on the number of reports received in 2020.
Dermot Murphy, who heads the RSPCA frontline rescue teams, said: “The combined effects of the pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis has created a perfect storm – and means we expect more animals than ever will need our help this year.
“Abandonment calls to our emergency line are now at a three-year high, as we respond to an increasing number of animals being given up and dumped.
“Behind these shocking statistics are thousands of vulnerable animals. Each one is a valuable life in urgent need of our help.
“We’re desperately concerned about the coming winter months in Dorset – abandonments have soared and many rescue centres are full to bursting, so we are facing an unprecedented winter crisis.
“Our rescue teams are set to be busier than ever this Christmas – so we need animal lovers to join the Christmas rescue and donate to help us be there for animals in desperate need as neglect and abandonment soars.”
This year, the RSPCA is asking supporters to Join the Christmas Rescue by donating to help rescue teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need them.
For more details on the appeal, log on to https://www.rspca.org.uk/jointherescue/christmas?campaigncode=23ACDRDICAET6&utm_source=Press&utm_medium=friendly&utm_campaign=RSPCA_PR_WinterAppeal_23ACDRDICAET6.