RSPCA braces for summer surge in abandonments after 226 calls in Hertfordshire last year
Charity fears impact of Covid and financial downturn will see owners dumping pets in Hertfordshire
Some may find images in this video distressing
The RSPCA is bracing itself for a surge in abandoned animals in and fears the fallout from the Covis crisis could see more owners struggling to keep their pets.
Typically, the charity sees abandonment peak in the summer months, they received 226 reports about dumped animals in Hertfordshire last year.
This includes elderly dog Martha who was found in a village near High Beech, Epping last June.
She was found by a member of the public who caught her and then drove her to RSPCA Southridge Animal Centre in Potters Bar, as Martha was suffering with an enormous tumour on her belly.
Staff at the centre took her straight to a nearby vet for treatment and the large mammary mass was examined, and it was decided that surgery was essential.
It is thought Martha was around eight years old, though she was not microchipped and was not wearing a collar. The mass was so large it covered so much of her little body and she must have been in so much discomfort, but despite this she remained loving and affectionate.
Centre manager Anna White said: “All the staff at RSPCA Southridge fell in love with her, including me. She was the sweetest dog I had ever known."
Vets successfully removed the mass from Martha's body and it weighed a staggering one and a half kilos. Martha recovered well and her personality shone through.
Anna added: “I was realistic about the prospect of finding a suitable home for an older dog, who may potentially suffer a relapse from the tumour, so I decided to foster her myself as we had formed a strong bond.
"Sadly, Martha passed away peacefully last autumn, but I am content knowing my family and I gave her the best few months of her life, surrounded by love, affection, treats and fun.”
The RSPCA is braced for an even bigger impact this summer following the easing of lockdown and the financial impact on the coronavirus pandemic, and has launched an emergency appeal to continue its vital rescue work.
In April, the charity said it had received over 283 incidents in Hertfordshire since lockdown startedDermot Murphy, head of the RSPCA’s animal rescue teams, said: “During lockdown we’ve seen pets become a source of comfort and support for people and it appears many people have taken on new animals.
"Fortunately during this time we’ve dealt with fewer abandoned pets however we are worried that as lockdown eases, people return to work, go on holidays or struggle financially we will be facing a massive surge of animal abandonments.
“Sadly summer tends to bring with it a surge in abandoned animals.
"We don’t know why but it may be a combination of the warmer weather making people feel less guilty about dumping a pet to fend for themselves and people doing away on holiday abandoning pets instead of arranging care for them.
“This is the toughest year yet for the RSPCA despite the huge challenges, our amazing teams have been continuing to rescue animals throughout this crisis.
"I’d urge anyone struggling with their pet to ask for help. Animals have been there to help us through the crisis, please don’t abandon them now.”
What people can do if they’re struggling to care for their pets:
- Ask friends and family for help
- Contact your vet about payment plans, discounts or vouchers for neutering or any other treatment needed
- Get in touch with local rehoming charities for advice
- Visit the RSPCA website for welfare advice.