RSPCA staff and volunteers have seen an alarming increase in animals being abandoned in West Yorkshire and expect the situation to get worse over the winter months.
In West Yorkshire 1,476 animals have been abandoned between January 1, 2014 and October 1, 2014.
Nationally the RSPCA has been called out to deal with 29,770 reports of abandoned animals so far in England and Wales.
In the North of England, Greater Manchester had the most abandonments, with 1,528. It came second on a national league table of abandonments, with London taking the top spot and West Yorkshire in third.
“Even in a nation of animal lovers, there are thousands of people out there who don’t care about their pets at all. In fact, some literally treat them like rubbish,” said RSPCA superintendent Martin Marsh.
“Worse still, holidays like Christmas can lead to an increase in abandonments as some people choose to get rid of their pets rather than pay for them to be looked after while they are on holiday.
“Money may be spent on holidays and Christmas presents rather than seeking vet attention for ill or newborn animals, so they are dumped,” he added.
“It’s bad enough when we find a box of kittens wrapped in blankets on our doorstep with a note, but now people are deliberately dumping their animals in out of the way places - like bins, skips or on waste ground - and leaving them to an unknown fate.”
The charity is urging people to stay vigilant and alert the RSPCA if they notice boxes, bins or bags that could contain abandoned animals.
The charity is expecting around 140,000 calls in November and December alone, with around 50,000 animals needing help between now and Christmas.
A winter campaigned has been launched that will look at all aspects of the challenging winter work, from the rise in abandonments to weather related rescues and even the increase in violence towards animals in the countdown to the Christmas period.
To help support the RSPCA’s winter campaign, please text RESCUE to 70800 to give £3.