A news/press release about RSPCA Week and about the cruelty by pet owners:
RSPCA says pets are falling prey to a throwaway society
“The number of pets being abandoned by owners in the UK has grown by almost 25 per cent in a year, raising concern that animals are the latest victims of a â€œthrowaway societyâ€.
Figures from the RSPCA, the countryâ€™s biggest animal welfare charity, also show that half of the 7,347 animals rescued from the streets last year were cats.
The trend is particularly disturbing because cats have traditionally been thought of as relatively easy to care for. They can be let out into a garden without supervision whereas dogs require daily exercise. Nine million people own cats in Britain, compared with 6.5 million who have dogs. The RSPCA is concerned that people are ready to give up their pets for the most bizarre reasons. One owner told an inspector: â€œMy cat doesnâ€™t match my new carpet.â€ Another said: â€œIâ€™ve just bought a new leather sofa and I donâ€™t want the cat to scratch it.â€
Dogs and rabbits are also being discarded by their owners. Animal officers employed by local authorities have reported that animals are routinely abandoned when owners go on holiday. Pets are turned out on the streets for two weeks and then owners often wish to reclaim them on their return.
The RSPCA says the trend shows no sign of diminishing. In the first four months of this year the charity has rescued 2,621 abandoned animals.
Two weeks ago, a three-legged cat with no tail was dumped in Portishead, near Bristol. The cat, named Harry, was microchipped so the RSPCA could find out his details. His owners had moved house and inspectors are trying to trace them while the cat is being cared for at a home. Other dumpings last year included a litter of kittens found in a refuse bag in London; a rabbit abandoned in a box in a crushing machine at a recycling centre in Northallerton, North Yorkshire; a puppy left in an empty chocolate box in Orpington, southeast London; and five hamsters, of which two were dead, left in a plastic tub by a roadside in Southampton.
The RSPCA rescued nearly 150,000 animals last year. Farm animal rescues were up by 96 per cent and those of horses and ponies up 66 per cent. This was largely because of the severe flooding that swept the country. For the second year more wild birds were rescued than any other species. The figure was 40,910, down on the 2006 total of 48,221.
Tim Wass, chief officer of the RSPCA Inspectorate, said: â€œIt is an offence to abandon an animal and there is never any excuse for doing so. If people have pets they cannot care for, for any reason, then help and advice is always available from the RSPCA.â€