An RSPCA survey showed that that 87% of the charity’s front-line rescuers were concerned that the situation for pets in the county could get worse over the festive season.
Heartbreakingly, the survey also revealed that RSPCA staff believed loss of interest in a pet was a “contributing factor” to abandonment and neglect at this time of year, 82 per cent said they felt it was the “main reason for abandonment,” and 74 per cent believed it was a “major cause” of neglect.
Last December, the welfare charity received one call every minute, with one report of an abandoned animal every hour and 70 rescued animals were taken into RSPCA care every day.
Of the front-line officers polled, 84% worried that more people were taking on pets without understanding how to care for them.
Almost half, 45%, feared there would be more abandonment this winter, as more people return to work, 69% agreed it was common for abandoned animals to have suffered neglect such as being underfed or with untreated disease/injury
Some 60% of puppies and dog kept in crates were seen to be in for too long due to a misunderstanding of crate training.
With a cost of £245 a day to keep a front-line rescuer on the road over Christmas, the charity is calling on animal lovers to Join its Christmas Rescue scheme.
Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer, said: “The RSPCA rescue teams are out 365 days a year in all weathers saving neglected and abandoned animals.
"This year we are concerned that the rise in pet ownership could mean some have taken on pets on impulse which may lead to more people abandoning or neglecting their animals.
“We will be out there every day this Christmas for the animals who need us most, bringing them to safety, but we can’t do it alone. We rely entirely on donations to keep our rescue teams on the road.”