THE RSPCA says it fears an "unprecedented winter crisis" of abandoned animals in Wiltshire after new data revealed an increase in abandoned pets.

The animal welfare charity has today, Wednesday, November 22, released shocking new stats that show abandonments have been spiralling amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Already this year, up to the end of October, the animal welfare charity has received 17,838 reports of abandoned animals across England and Wales - which, if such trends continue, would equate to 21,417 reports over 2023.

This compares with 16,118 reports during the whole of 2020, meaning the RSPCA is on course to see an eye-watering 32.9 per cent rise in abandonment calls this year.

It’s also higher than the number of reports received in 2021 - 17,179 - and 2022 - 19,645.

In Wiltshire, the charity is on course to receive 164 reports of animal abandonment this year - contributing to an "unprecedented winter crisis" across England and Wales. 

Dermot Murphy, who heads the RSPCA frontline rescue teams, said: "The combined effects of the pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis has created a perfect storm - and means we expect more animals than ever will need our help this year.

"Abandonment calls to our emergency line are now at a three-year high, as we respond to an increasing number of animals being given up and dumped.

"Behind these shocking statistics are thousands of vulnerable animals. Each one is a valuable life in urgent need of our help. 

"We’re desperately concerned about the coming winter months in Wiltshire. Abandonments have soared nationwide and many rescue centres are full to bursting, so we are facing an unprecedented winter crisis. 

“Our rescue teams are set to be busier than ever this Christmas - so we need animal lovers to join the Christmas rescue and donate to help us be there for animals in desperate need as neglect and abandonment soars."