RSPCA warn cost of living crisis could see number of animals abandoned soar

12 February 2022, 22:31 | Updated: 12 February 2022, 22:35

RSPCA warn the number of abandoned animals could increase due to the cost of living crisis
RSPCA warn the number of abandoned animals could increase due to the cost of living crisis. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

The RSPCA has warned the number of abandoned animals could increase as people struggle to cope with the soaring cost of living.

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The animal welfare charity has expressed concerns after recording a 29 per cent increase in the number of pets needing to be rescued.

Statistics collected by the RSPCA also show a rise in the number of animals being voluntarily surrendered by families who are no longer to care and provide for their pet due to the increased cost of living and owners returning to work after the pandemic.

Dr Samantha Gaines, a pet welfare expert for the RSPCA, said: "We are seeing an increase in the number of animals being abandoned as well as being surrendered. We fear this could worsen as people return to the office or struggle with increasing costs of living.

"We believe that one of the main reasons people fail to care for their pets properly or end up abandoning them is a lack of research before they get their pet and a misunderstanding about the cost of pet ownership."

Read more: RSPCA says it has received no donation from West Ham after Zouma fined over cat video

Read more: 'Cut war not welfare': Thousands line streets in protest over soaring cost of living

Edinburgh cost of living protest

The Resolution Foundation, said 2022 could be defined as the "year of the squeeze" predicting families will face a £1,200 income hit from soaring energy bills and tax rises.

Energy bills are expected to rise by about £500 for families from April, while the cost of collapsing providers – triggered by rises in the price of gas – would add about £100 on to bills.

Combined with the hike in National Insurance contributions, expected to cost the average household £600 a year.

Low income families, who spend more of what they earn on energy, will be disproportionately affected, potentially forcing them to spend 12% of their income on power, compared to 8.5% now.

Today protesters lined streets across the UK to highlight the impact of the cost of living crisis on workers and their families.

The People's Assembly co-ordinated the demonstrations, supported by trade unions, in towns and cities around the UK including London, Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol, Nottingham, Glasgow and Brighton.

Read more: Met Office weather warning: Floods, freezing temperatures and snow flurries forecast

Read more: Cost of living crisis: How will the energy price cap rise affect you?

Caller slams 'disgraceful' decision to select Kurt Zouma for West Ham match

The stark warning about animal welfare comes just days after the charity removed two cats from the care of West Ham footballer Kurt Zouma after a video emerged of him kicking his cat at home.

There have been reports the player had been fined two weeks’ wages, up to £250,000 with the understanding that a donation to the charity would be made and that the player would attend a welfare course.

But the RSPCA refuted claims the footballer has been offered animal welfare courses, and said it has not been offered any donation.

The charity issued the following statement today: “Two cats are in our care, have been seen by a vet and are being well looked after. 

“They will remain in our care while the investigation continues and are not available for rehoming although we have lots of beautiful cats who are looking for new homes:

“We understand the high level of interest in this incident and can reassure you that our experienced officers are carrying out a full and thorough investigation.

“Due to the fact that this is a live investigation, we are limited in what we can say, however we will provide updates when we are able.”