In the last month alone North Anston’s Thornberry Animal Sanctuary has had two large dogs tied to their gates overnight, lurcher puppies brought to them in a cardboard box and received seven unwanted cats.
The charity made the revelation as a way to highlight pet abandonment locally after the RSPCA released figures that showed pet owners are dumping their animals at a rate of one every hour across England and Wales because they want to go on holiday, The animal welfare charity said that 2,812 animals were rescued between July and September last year, with July accounting for 1,087 of admissions.
Staff at Thornberry, a small sanctuary with room for only a limited amount of animals, are now urging people to make sure they are able to fully care for an animal before becoming a pet owner.
Keith Holland, general manager, said: “It’s a real misconception that Christmas is the worse time for people abandoning their pets, it’s actually summer when cute pups and kittens grow up and owners no longer want to deal with the care, attention and commitment a pet needs.
“The reasons people abandon their pets could even be as simple as people not being able to afford kennel fees whilst they go on their summer holidays.
“Just this week, a rottweiler was left padlocked to our gates overnight for staff to discover in the morning. He was left with a muzzle, but we don’t know why, if he’s aggressive with other animals, children or men.
“Also, we don’t have any medical history for him. Just like when another large dog, Humphrey a huggable mastiff, was left tied to our gates last month, he turned out to have a wide range of complex medical needs which, because if former owners didn’t leave details of, even anonymously, ended up draining our vital resources.
“Thornberry will always aim to relieve the suffering and distress of animals in need of care and protection and ensure there is always a sanctuary for them. It’s only thanks to our kind supporters that we are able to keep helping the animals which are brought to us.
“However, we have limited space, and, as a small, independent charity, which receives no funding whatsoever from the council or government, so this time of year poses huge financial strains on us.”
He added: “Please, for everyone out there who is thinking of taking on a pet, remember it’s potentially a 20-year commitment with expense attached to it. These are living creatures with complex feelings, not playthings to be abandoned after six months. Think before you take an animal on and lessen the burden on sanctuaries like Thornberry when the fun stops.”
Information about the rottweiler left at the gates, including medical history, can be passed anonymously to Thornberry by contacting 01909 564399.