As part of the charity’s Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, the RSPCA has revealed it received more than 100 reports of animals being abandoned every single day throughout 2021 and sadly these figures are on the rise this year. A total of 38,087 abandonment reports were made to the charity’s cruelty line last year - an average of over 3,000 reports a month, 104 a day or four abandoned animals every hour.


The West Midlands is in the top five (number three) counties with the highest number of abandoned animals with 2,158 reported to the RSPCA in 2021. This year there has been a 19% increase in the number of abandonments in the West Midlands from January - July with 1,076 reports made to the charity already this year (2022).

Heartbreakingly, the number of animals being dumped is also on the rise nationally with a 17% increase from 2020 to 2021 and a 24% increase in 2022. The charity fears that a huge rise in pet ownership during the pandemic coupled with the cost of living crisis putting a strain on people’s finances means even more animals are being given up this year.

The animal welfare charity has released the stark figures as part of its Cancel Out Cruelty summer campaign which aims to raise funds to keep its rescue teams on the frontline saving animals in desperate need of help as well as raise awareness about how we can all work together to stop cruelty for good.

Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer at the RSPCA, said: “The idea of putting your cat in a cat carrier and taking them to a secluded spot in the woods before walking away, or chucking your dog out of the car and driving off leaving them desperately running behind the vehicle, is absolutely unthinkable and heartbreaking to most pet owners - but sadly we are seeing animals callously abandoned like this every single day.

“We understand that sometimes the unexpected can happen - the pandemic and cost of living crisis proved that - but there is never an excuse to abandon an animal. There are always other options for anyone who has fallen on hard times and can no longer afford to keep their pet.”

From January to July 2021 there were 18,375 abandonment reports nationally, compared to 22,908 in the first seven months of this year - a rise of 24%. A recent report released by the RSPCA in partnership with the Scottish SPCA also showed that the cost of living crisis is the most urgent threat to pet welfare in the UK.

The Animal Kindness Index* showed that 78% of pet owners think the cost of living will impact their animals, almost seven out of 10 (68%) expressing concern that the cost of care was increasing, and a fifth (19%) worried about how they’ll afford to feed their pets. The study also showed cat owners seem to be most impacted and concerned about cost of living pressures.

This worrying survey comes at a time when the charity is at its busiest period. The RSPCA receives around 90,000 calls to its cruelty line every month but in the summer (July and August) calls rise to 134,000 a month and reports of cruelty soar to 7,600 each month - a devastating 245 every day.

Dogs were the most abandoned pet with 14,462 reports of dumped dogs made to the RSPCA last year. Cats were the second most abandoned pet with 10,051 reports of cats being callously dumped in 2021. There were also 3,363 abandoned exotic pets reported to the RSPCA including 1,455 fish and 685 snakes.

On 17 August, the RSPCA Worcester and Mid Worcestershire branch’s rescue and rehoming centre in Kempsey took in 12 abandoned animals - nine cats and three rabbits - on one day alone. They included four tiny kittens, estimated to be between four and five weeks old, who had been found in a soiled cardboard box on the doorstep of a house in Small Heath, Birmingham, the previous day.

Collected by an RSPCA officer, they were taken for immediate veterinary treatment before being transferred to The Holdings. Despite receiving round-the-clock care from the centre’s staff and volunteers, the kittens - who were all extremely underweight and too young to be away from their mum - all sadly died in the following days.

Claire Wood, one of the centre’s volunteers, said: “We were all devastated by the loss of these little kittens, but the awful reality is that it will keep happening if people do not neuter their animals. Incidents like this take a terrible toll on the physical and emotional wellbeing of staff and volunteers.

“Sadly it’s something that rescue centres like ours are seeing day in, day out, and we are working round the clock to care for an ever increasing number of sick, abandoned and unwanted animals who are being left to fend for themselves. We despair at how this not only keeps on happening, but how much worse it appears to be getting.”              

Three pet rabbits are thankfully making good progress at the centre after they were found huddled together after being abandoned on Combe Fields Road near Coventry on 15 August by a member of the public. A little dishevelled when they were found, the trio are all described as friendly and confident bunnies who will take treats from your hand. None of them were microchipped or neutered.  

Aged between one and two-years-old, Archibald is ginger/brown in colour and is missing a front paw. It’s not known whether this has been caused by an accident, a birth defect or whether the foot was deliberately amputated, but he does not appear to be in any pain and it certainly doesn’t slow him down!

His friend Winston, who is the same age, has brown and white markings and the two will be looking for a new home together.

The third rabbit, who has been named Orson, had visible fight scars, which is not uncommon when a group of unneutered male rabbits are kept together. The centre has therefore decided to seek a home for him with a female bunny/bunnies for company.

Like Archibald and Winston, he has a lovely personality and all three - who will be neutered prior to being rehomed - will make wonderful family pets. Visit The Holdings website for more details about how to apply to rehome them and advice about housing requirements.  

The RSPCA received 1,081,018 calls to its Cruelty Line in 2021 and these included reports of:

●     1,094 killings or nearly three animals killed a day

●     632 mutilations or 12 animals brutally mutilated every week

●     7,857 beatings which equates to nearly one animal beaten every hour.

The RSPCA’s rescue teams need support to stay out on the frontline as the only charity rescuing animals and investigating cruelty:

●     £2 could help to provide a meal for a dog in our care

●     £6 could help pay to feed a dog for a day in our care

●     £10 could help pay towards bandages for a dog

●     £15 could help pay for a cat or dog’s clinical exam

●     £500 could kit out a 4x4 inspector van