Are we really a nation of animal lovers?
Researchers have questioned whether Britain really is a nation of animal lovers after a new study found more than a quarter of a million cats and dogs were abandoned or given up in one year alone.
Animal sanctuaries and rescue centres, like the Bath Cats and Dogs Home at Claverton Down, have reported a sharp rise in the numbers of pets being left to them, and the RSPCA centre near Bath has a waiting list of people wanting to give their pets up.
The experts from the University of Bristol’s Vet School assessed for the first time the numbers of new animals being given up during one year, and discovered that more than 260,000 cats and dogs were given up during 2009, the first full year of the recession.
The formal study undertaken by the academics has revealed the full extent of the way the recession has hit our pets.
The University of Bristol’s Dr Corinna Clark and her colleagues contacted more than 1,500 welfare organisations for the first major census of abandoned animals.
From the responses received it was estimated that 131,070 cats and 129,743 dogs entered the care of UK welfare organisations during 2009.
In addition, 66 per cent of responding organisations that cared for cats and 47 per cent of those caring for dogs were full to capacity year round.
Dr Clark said that meant it was likely that the actual numbers of cats and dogs needing assistance far exceeds the estimated figures, because for organisations that are full, the intake rate will be regulated by the re-homing rate, rather than by the need for places.
“As well as highlighting the enormity of this issue, the study demonstrates the substantial efforts of welfare organisations in caring for and re-homing unwanted animals annually, many of which rely on unpaid help from volunteers,” she said.
“We will continue to support the amazing work these organisations do through our collaboration with them, for example, by studying the best ways to care for these animals and how to increase homing rates.
“I adopted a rescue puppy as a result of my involvement in this study and I hope that by raising awareness we might encourage more people to adopt from rescues.”
Source: This is Bath