GUEST COLUMN: Shock of abandoned animals, by Rachel Butler, RSPCA regional press officer
Earlier this month, the RSPCA released shocking figures which show that the charity rescues one animal every hour in the summer months.
It is a sobering thought and is enough to make you sit up and think about all the hard work which our inspectors do across the country, all day, every day.
These statistics showed that, last year, 164 animals were abandoned in Nottinghamshire - on average, one almost every other day.
Every day our inspectors face cases where animals have been left abandoned in fields, dumped in boxes, left for dead at the side of roads and even left outside animal centres.
It is just heartbreaking. These poor animals are often just dumped without a care for their welfare or what might happen to them.
I have heard of many cases where animals are dumped in boxes or left tied to trees, with no guarantee that they will be found.
One which always stands out in my mind is that of a 15-year-old whippet who was tied to a fence at a park in Nottingham, on a hot day and with no water in August last year.
He was found after someone heard him whimpering.
But what if he hadn’t have been heard?
It does not even bear thinking about.
Here at the RSPCA, we don’t know exactly why some people cold-heartedly dump an animal with no thought for their wellbeing.
It can be for any number of reasons - perhaps because they don’t want the responsibility of finding someone to look after their pet while they are away on holiday, or they are unable to afford vet fees and the cost of keeping the animal.
It is for these reasons that it is so important to get across the message of responsible pet ownership.
We would always advise people who take on a new pet to thoroughly research it, make sure it will suit their lifestyle and that they will be able to provide for it for the entirety of its life - however long that may be.
It is an offence to abandon an animal, and anyone who is found guilty of doing so under the Animal Welfare Act faces six months in prison and a £20,000 fine.
If you see an animal which has been abandoned, please report it to us as soon as possible on 0300 1234 999.
That one phone call will make all the difference to the animal.
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