Animal abandonment soaring in Wales

ANIMAL abandonments incidents have soared to a shocking three year high as the RSPCA warns unwanted pets face a bleak winter – with incidents in Wales contributing to the crisis.

The animal welfare charity has today (22 November) released shocking new stats that show abandonments have been spiraling amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Already this year, up to the end of October, the animal welfare charity has received 17,838 reports of abandoned animals across England and Wales – which, if such trends continue, would equate to 21,417 reports over 2023. This compares with 16,118 reports during the whole of 2020, meaning the RSPCA is on course to see an eye-watering 32.9 percent rise in abandonment calls this year. It’s higher too than the number of reports received in 2021 (17,179) and 2022 (19,645).

While in Wales specifically – abandonment reports have risen 61% – from 997 in 2020 to a projected 1,610 this year. This is compared to 1,192 reports in 2021 and 1,419 in 2022.

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 Wales. 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.”

Case studies

North Wales – Deeside

Back in May an appeal was launched after Shih Tzu was found abandoned on a driveway in Shotton near Deeside.

The female dog – estimated to be around a year old – was found on Shotton Lane, in a pet carrier and with heavily matted fur.

Luckily she was found by the homeowners who took her to a vet, who subsequently called the RSPCA. Sadly despite extensive enquiring the person who abandoned her was not found.

After she was trimmed and given vet treatment she was transferred to RSPCA Bryn Y Maen Animal Centre and has found her forever home.

South Wales – Swansea

In July an information appeal was launched after a tiny six-week-old puppy was abandoned at a Swansea park.

The male cross breed puppy – thought to be aged around six weeks old – was found at Cwm Level Park and Playing Fields in Brynhyfryd. A member of the public luckily spotted the puppy who had reportedly collapsed behind a tree. He was described as not being able to put any weight on his legs.

The pup was named Dave and following a vet check up and after spending four days at home with RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben – he was placed with a fosterer from the RSPCA Llys Nini Branch and was later rehomed.

South West Wales – Cross Hands

Two young terrier puppies were found abandoned in a plastic bag near Cross Hands in April.


They were discovered by a startled member of the public who found them in a hedge – on the side of the road approaching Llyn Llech Owain Country Park in Gorslas.

They had been travelling down the road when they saw a plastic carrier bag and then heard the puppies crying inside. The kind-hearted driver then took them to a vet within 20 minutes and called the RSPCA.

RSPCA inspector Keith Hogben said: “The two five-week old puppies were found on their own in a plastic carrier bag which was loosely tied.”

Following a vet check up where they were treated for a skin condition and a loving home was found for them.

South East – Cardiff

In September a cat and her three young kittens were found dumped in a carrier bag outside in Cardiff. The four cats were left inside a freezer insulated Asda carrier bag outside a vets in Ely.

The kittens – aged around five to six weeks – and their mum have now been transferred into the care of the RSPCA and have been taken to the RSPCA Merthyr Tydfil Veterinary Clinic for a full health check. The kittens were named Snap, Crackle and Pop – with their mum named Rice (Crispies).

The cats have been placed in the care of a foster carer from the RSPCA Herefordshire Branch and are doing well. Rice has been re-named Coco. (pictured in their foster home)

South East – New Tredegar

Earlier this month seven cross pug puppies were abandoned in a wet cardboard box in New Tredegar.

The eight-week old pups were found on a mountain pass on 31 October and were handed into a vets before the RSPCA were contacted.

The puppies spent a period of time at the RSPCA Merthyr Tydfil Veterinary Clinic, and were then transferred to The Cotswolds Dogs and Cats Home.

The pups have been named after types of trees – Ash, Chestnut, Fern, Hazel, Maple, Oak and Willow.


Haley Medlock, fundraising manager at The Cotswolds Dogs and Cats Home, said: “When the puppies arrived at the centre, it was all hands on deck! The puppies require a huge amount of love and care, which the team are working around the clock to provide.’


“It breaks my heart to know that these puppies were abandoned, unwanted, and uncared for at such a young age. We are so thankful to the member of public for finding them and taking them to a safe space before arriving in our care. They have so much love to give and will make the perfect companion for any lucky family’.


“Their personalities are already shining! Willow, the smallest of the litter, is very affectionate and loves to curl up on your lap. Maple is the cheeky one of the bunch and will often chase her siblings around to ensure she has the best toy to play with.’


“Despite having an awful start to life, we know they will learn to love and trust humans again and will soon be able to find their forever home.”

The branch has been appealing for donations as the pups’ care is estimated to cost around £8,400 – Donate – Cotswolds Dogs and Cats Home.

Dermot added: “For nearly 200 years, the RSPCA has been working tirelessly to bring animals to safety and give them the expert treatment and compassion they deserve.

“We’ll continue to do so for as long as we’re needed but we can’t do that without the support of fellow animal lovers. Together, we could save more lives.

“The support of the public helps neglected and abandoned animals in so many ways – from buying soft, warm bedding and nourishing food for an animal who’s desperately cold and hungry, to funding vital vet care for an animal who’s suffering and in pain.”

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.

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