Since lockdown began, animal charity the RSPCA has received more than 1,600 reports of abandoned animals across England & Wales, the equivalent of 40 a day.
In Bedfordshire, there have been reports about 18 abandoned animals to the charity’s cruelty hotline since the coronavirus lockdown started on 23 March.
The charity has released the figures as part of its emergency appeal, launched to keep its rescue teams out on the road during the coronavirus crisis and continuing to rescue animals most in need.
Animal rescuers at the charity have been designated key workers by the Government but vital funding is needed to help the RSPCA’s frontline staff continue this crucial work across England and Wales.
Dermot Murphy, head of the RSPCA rescue teams, said, “Although much of the country is on lockdown, sadly there are still thousands of animals who need our help, including abandoned pets.
“Many people are finding their pets are a real source of comfort in these anxious times and thankfully cases of abandonment are slightly lower than usual but it’s heartbreaking that some animals are being dumped during this crisis.
“In most cases we don’t know why pets are abandoned but it’s really important to remind people that there is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 can be passed from pets to people.
“There is lots of help and support out there for anyone else struggling to get animal food, with health or behavioural issues, exercising their pets or managing to keep children safe around pets. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Since the Government introduced the lockdown measures, the RSPCA has responded to more than 27,000 incidents and the number of animals being cared for by the charity at centres, hospitals and vet surgeries has also grown by hundreds.
Since lockdown began there are more than 4,300 animals in RSPCA care.
The RSPCA is also urging pet-owners to make an emergency pet-care plan should they be admitted to hospital with Coronavirus, including placing a poster in the window informing people that there are pets inside.