by Tom McBeth
Animal shelters across the country have begun their annual appeals to animal lovers to donate as the number of strays and abandoned pets is expected to rise over the Christmas period.
The trend of pets, particularly puppies, being bought as a Christmas present and then abandoned as the owners become bored or unable to afford or cope with the responsibility of owning them, has long been a problem for rescue shelters over the festive period.
The RSPCA Tweeted that “1 in 5 people no longer have their puppy 3 years after purchase” having recently launched its #NotAPresent Twitter campaign to highlight the responsibility of owning a pet.
In 2010 the RSPCA reported that as many as three pets every hour were abandoned over the Christmas period.
Earlier this year, Cats Protection came under scrutiny when it was revealed they were spending upwards of £12 million on staff salaries, whilst putting cats down due to veterinary costs.
Despite this, small local shelters continue to struggle.
Generally run by volunteers, a lot of shelters have struggled with recent public sector funding cuts to charitable services, as well as an increase in the number of animals requiring care.
Volunteer Joanne Herbert said, “All rescues experience an increase in stray this time of year, due to the costs of Christmas and sadly outing the old for new.”
Jo-Anne Hill of Lincolnshire Animal Ark said, “we’re always grateful of any donations for the animals.
“We also always need good quality bric-a-brac, soft toys and tombola prizes.”
If you are interested in volunteering, making a donation or re-homing a pet, please visit the RSPCA website for more information on your local animal shelters.