A steep increase in the number of animals in the borough being abandoned and neglected every year is stretching the Doncaster’s RSPCA service to its limit, new figures have revealed.
For some a house just isn’t a home without a pet to take care of, but as the effects of one of the deepest recessions in living memory continues to take its toll on thousands in the borough - many are struggling to cover the cost of keeping an animal.
New figures show that the average annual cost of owning a dog comes in at around £1,180 for a dog and £1,020 for a cat - when the cost of veterinary care, grooming and kennels/catteries are taken into consideration.
This year the RSPCA in Doncaster needed to take in more animals than ever before, due to animals being abandoned or neglected.
A total of 883 have been accepted by the animal charity since the beginning of 2015 which is an increase of 13 per cent on last year when some 784 animals were taken in.
In 2013, a total of 721 animals were brought to the RSPCA.
Head vet at Balby veterinary practise, Richard Lawn, told the Free Press that the practise has seen an increase in the number of animals being abandoned by their owner.
“It’s an all too common situation. Doncaster council send the abandoned animals that need treatment to us.
“A lot of people do seem to abandon animals when they need medical treatment or putting down, which makes no sense because the cost of putting down an animal is only about £20-£40 and most vets will let you split the payment if you need to.
“We see a lot of bitches being abandoned after they are no longer able to breed, which is quite sad.
“We’ve even had to treat one dog that was thrown out of a moving car.
“It’s quite a consistent thing that we’re seeing more and more of, it’s quite a sad state of affairs at the moment.”
A spokesman for the RSPCA South Yorkshire Animal Centre, Bawtry told the Free Press: “The summer of 2015 has sadly seen a record number of cruelty and neglect cases at the centre.
They added: “We have also admitted more abandoned animals than ever before. In fact we are full to overflowing. For a nation supposedly known as animal lovers, there has been a sorry catalogue of dumped animals all through the summer, not least mother cats with small and vulnerable kittens. If you are thinking of adopting a pet, then first think long and hard about the commitment – the time, the food costs and the vet bills.
“If you are unsure about meeting unexpected vet bills, insure your animal.
“Next step, please adopt a rescue animal, whether it be from us or from another animal charity, rather than spend money at a pet shop or breeder. We have a wonderful variety of dogs, cats, rabbits and small furries.
“They have one thing in common – they offer love, loyalty and joy. If you already own a dog, we will arrange socialization sessions at our Centre to make sure you adopt a good friend for your existing pet. We give advice on looking after your pet and they will be neutered, micro-chipped, vaccinated and wormed, if appropriate.”
Doncaster animal rights campaigners have hit out over the number of animal cruelty cases taking place across Doncaster. Self-employed mobile micro-chipper, Gill Bird, told the Free Press: “As an animal lover, it is heartbreaking to see animals being hurt on purpose.
“I can’t see why anyone would do that.
“I think the problem is a lack of responsibility for owners, which leads to more animals ending up in rescue centres.”
For more information on the RSPCA South Yorkshire Animal Centre please call 01302 719790 or visit: http://www.rspca.org.uk/local/doncaster-rotherham-and-district-branch
• Many memories
An abandoned greyhound, dubbed ‘Many Memories, was found near Highfields Lake on October 19 with no collar.
After obtaining information from the dog’s microchip, Gill Bird, who looked after Many Memories when she was found discovered that the three-year-old bitch was sold just three months previously to a dog track, who sold her on the following week to a couple believed to live in Highfields.
She was said to be in a good condition and of a healthy weight when she was sold. However, when she was found earlier this month she was emaciated and in need of emergency veterinary care.
Gill said: “It was clear that she just hadn’t been fed, or if she had been given very little to eat over the last 12 weeks
She added: “How can anyone let a dog down like that?
“If I’d found her too much longer after that I don’t think she’d be here today.”
Many Memories is now set to be re-homed with new owners.
This Rottweiler, named Axel by those who discovered him, was found dead at an embankment in Hexthorpe with snapped teeth in is mouth, chewed back feet, spine showing and hips showing in September.
It is not clear how long he was there for before being found.
Doncaster animal-lovers fundraised to raise the £116 needed to pay for his cremation.
Hendrix is a tabby cat who was brought into the RSPCA centre in Bawtry via an inspector due to welfare concern after he was taken to the vets by a member of public.
Hendrix was found after being shot in the head with a pellet gun. A spokesperson for the centre said there is no doubt the this was an ‘intentional act of cruelty’ as he was shot directly between the eyes.
Sadly the shot has damaged his optic nerve and left poor Hendrix blind in one eye.
The centre are now looking for new owners to adopt Hendrix.
A spokesman said: “after everything he’s been through he still craves human company and loves any attention he gets.”