UK: 37,000 Abandoned Animals in 12 Months

Even in Britain, a nation of animal lovers, some people treat their pet like a piece of rubbish – trash. Going away on holiday? Can’t afford a cat or dog sitter or boarding cattery fees? Just throw your dog away in the nearest skip. That has happened. In 2012 the RSPCA were called out 37,000 times to rescue abandoned animals¹.

Irresponsible and heartless people are abandoning cats and dogs but they are not taking them to a shelter. They just throw them away. In one example, a cat and her kittens were found dumped in a wheelie bin (a trash cat with wheels). Astonished? No, not me, to be honest. It is not the first time.

There are thousands of people in Britain who don’t care about their pets. That is not say that millions, the vast majority, care a lot. It is a minority but a decent sized minority nonetheless who act irresponsibly and cruelly towards their companion animals.

The truth is that if a person abandons a pet because they prefer to buy a television or go on holiday to taking their cat to the vet, then they should never have adopted the pet in the first place. Never. These people are unsuitable. It can be a tough decision and I am being critical but it is the truth. People must be in a position of financial stability and live in a stable environment before taking on the responsibility of looking after a companion animal. They must also have the commitment. That comes from a real love of animals.

To adapt a cat or a dog because “I want one” without working through the financial cost and caretaking required (for the life of the animal) is a very irresponsible and selfish way to behave. There are a lot of people who think that way, mind you.

You have to guarantee that you can afford to care for a cat companion for 15 years. It is not about affording the expense for the next year, maybe. There has to be long term planning and certainties. Once again that is tough talk but it is the only way. There are too many people who would certainly benefit from a companion animal but who are not suitable because they cannot afford it.

The financial crisis is a major reason for the current crisis but it is not the reason. The reason is people who act in a self-indulgent way satisfying their desire to have a pet without thinking things through. Also it is not always about money. It is about choices. TV -v- cat caretaking expenses.

I will finish with a quote from Ben Strangwood the RSPCA’s deputy chief inspector:

“..now people are deliberately dumping animals in out-of-the-way places, like bins, skips or on waste ground, and leaving them to die…”


Source: RSPCA via Times newspaper.

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UK: 37,000 Abandoned Animals in 12 Months — 8 Comments

  1. It’s terrible dumping pets in bins etc, I know Animal Sanctuaries are full to bursting point more than ever now but if they know how desperate a person is I think they will always squeeze them in somewhere.
    There are people who when they took a cat or dog in were well able to provide for him but now with people losing their jobs and homes and everyone struggling to survive they feel they can’t afford to keep their pet.
    To me that’s wrong because once a pet is in the family, he’s family for life. I’d eat dry bread rather than let our cats go short of what they need. I’d live in a tent with them rather than part with them.
    But both Kays Hill and out local Cats Protection are having pets dumped on them, what do they do, try to trace the person? That’s quite difficult because even if found they could just deny it was their pet unless a neighbour would speak out, but who knows all their neighbours pets?
    We do of course but most people now don’t even know their human neighbours never mind their pets.
    What a worrying state of affairs it all is 🙁

  2. We have the same problems, probably magnified even, in the USA. The Cat Network frequently has animals dumped literally on their doorstep. I get that the economy is really bad. My own job as a physical therapist assistant is disappearing thanks to changes to Medicare. But what can you do? You can’t just give up. Leaving an animal to die a slow death is just unpardonable. I don’t agree with killing healthy animals, I’d love to find a way for us to be a no kill nation, but there is a huge gap between leaving an animal to die of exposure, thirst or starvation and humanely euthanizing him. Do we become less than human just because we run out of money? Do we become monsters capable of killing a family member just because money is tight?

    I find it hard to believe that poverty causes crime, it more often happens the other way around, I think. We can’t abandon what is right just because times are hard. Like Ruth says, most of us would eat dry bread ourselves just to be able to provide for our animals. How many dumping their pets actually got to that level of poverty? In how many of all these cases are the people literally out on the street with absolutely no means of support? Or is it more that they were used to a certain standard of living and can’t have it anymore, so now the pet has to go? We often don’t know the difference between a want.

    There are stories of people overcoming great odds, including poverty, unemployment and homelessness and they did it without letting down those they loved. These stories usually end up being made into movies and we marvel at the determination of these individuals to succeed. If everyone was as determined there would still be some cases where pets have to be given up to shelters– but not nearly as many. People act like others should solve their problems for them, including the problem of having to care for a pet they adopted. I get it that it’s really tough. My life is going to get a lot tougher in the near future. But Monty will be cared for even if I have to go back to washing dishes or pressing clothes to earn money to buy him kitty food. It may come to that, and I can guarantee I won’t be eating out anymore or buying new clothes in the near future– but Monty will have all his needs met, the same as ever. He may see me a little less, but I’ll still make sure to give him his supervised outside time most days, no matter how tired I am. That’s the kind of thing you do when you love someone. Love for someone small and furry should be no different than love for other humans. It should be real and it should last forever and be manifested in actions not just words.

    • Do we become less than human just because we run out of money?

      I don’t believe that people do run out of money in the UK with our overly generous benefits system. People on benefits in the UK have flat panel TVs and they smoke fags and drink beer watching it. Their housing is paid for etc.. The thought of throwing away Charlie is alien to me.

      I agree with what you write. You are hinting at fecklessness rather than truly running out of money as the reason behind dumping animals.

      • But benefits are being cut, Michael, and sadly it seems like the ones scamming the system aren’t the ones affected by the cuts, but rather the truly disabled. So I think a small percentage truly can’t care for their animals. The rest are as you describe. If they want something they “need” it and will not sacrifice or go without any small thing, even if that means the helpless– animals and children must suffer. I’ve seen women in expensive clothes driving brand new cars with children who were barely dressed for the weather. Women get more benefits if they have more children. The poor kid was brought into the world so the mom would get her check. A program made to help a family in a tight spot got hijacked by a bunch of lazy selfish people. I’m sure it is the same in the UK– different programs, but the same fraud and abuse happening.

        The thought of giving up Monty is alien to me as well. I may have to sell my oboe, my accordion and my ’76 Toronado. Not a permanent solution, but it will buy us time. But I could never let Monty go. I’ll sell just about everything I have to keep him fed and cared for and in the house and yard he loves. But so long as I have my husband and my sister and Monty, I’m still rich.

        • I think in exactly the same way on all you have said. People do conveniently use “financial crisis” to get rid of a companion animal they don’t want to keep.

  3. Its a sad fact of “Pet Ownership”, the abandonment of pets by their owners for various reasons. This happens all over the World, amongst rich as well as poor pet owners. Many pet owners don’t realize that owning a pet is akin to a human commitment of living together,irrespective of the various facets of life’s unpredictability in economic as well as living conditions.Buying a pet or acquiring a pet is the easiest option to pet ownership but its the “PET MAINTENANCE” that drives many owners to abandon their pets.

    • Well said, it is lack of preparation and thought. The most important moment in owning a pet is just before you own it. The person should commit for the life of the animal and nothing less.

  4. I agree they are not suitable. It’s that simple really. If you own a pet there should be tabs kept on you by your vet and if anything strange happens you should be reported. I’m not a fascist but when it comes to animals I might be a little.

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