THE RSPCA received 12 reports of dumped and unwanted animals in Warwickshire last month.
The charity says it is bracing for an influx of more abandoned animals after last year seeing 36 left out in the cold during winter.
It is concerned a surge in pet ownership and a deepening recession could result in more unwanted pets.
Head of the RSPCA’s animal rescue teams Dermot Murphy said: “During the lockdown there have been reports of a rise in people buying or adopting new pets, often for the very first time. While it’s great so many people have become pet owners and have found their pet to be a real source of comfort during these challenging times, we are concerned that some people may have bought a pet on impulse without considering how their lifestyle might change once the pandemic ends. On top of that, we are facing real economic uncertainties, and, as in previous recessions, people may simply find themselves unable to afford their pet.
“The last thing we want to see is animals dumped and left out in the cold so we’d urge anyone who is struggling to care for their pets to please reach out to friends, family and charities for support instead.”
A poll by the charity found one in ten pet owners had taken on a pet during lockdown and, of those, nearly one in ten said that their pet had been more expensive than they had expected.
Dermot added: “We would always urge anyone considering getting a pet to thoroughly do their research to make sure they can give them the time, money and care they need for the rest of their lives. As the impact of the pandemic puts a strain on people’s finances and as many people start to return to work or some kind of normality, the fear is that we will see a surge in abandoned and neglected animals coming into our care.”
Visit www.rspca.org.uk/xmas to support the charity or find out more.