Rescue pet crisis continues: RSPCA faces biggest ever rehoming challenge
According to new figures 72% of the UK population say they are not planning on getting a new pet.
The shocking results come as the RSPCA faces the biggest rehoming crisis in recent memory, with rehoming falling sharply at two national RSPCA centres.
The RSPCA’s rescue centres and branches are “full to bursting” with unwanted animals as more animals come into care than are being adopted. Between 2021 and 2022, the charity saw a six percent increase in the number of dogs taken into care and a four percent increase in the number of cats.
RSPCA’s two national rehoming centres – Newport and Bryn-Y-Maen in Upper Colwyn Bay, have reported a 25% decrease in rehoming between 2021 and 2022. While together they rehomed 405 animals in 2022 (241 by Newport and 164 by Bryn-Y-Maen), this fell from a combined 542 during the previous year. (please see table below)
To try and revive adoption rates, the RSPCA’s month-long Adoptober rehoming campaign launches today (2 October), celebrating the wonder of rescue pets, and highlighting the many animals the charity has waiting to find their perfect match.
However, concerns are increasing about capacity challenges at RSPCA centres, as the number of animals being adopted are also dropping. Across England and Wales, the number of animals rehomed dropped by five percent from 2021 to 2022 falling to 25,535 animals in 2022, compared to 26,945 during the previous year.
This marks a longer-term collapse in rehoming rates; which have fallen by 34% from three years ago (in 2019) – when 39,178 animals were rehomed.
In addition, a YouGov survey* found that, when asked ‘When, if at all, are you planning to get a new pet?’, 72% percent of people stated that they were not planning to get a new pet.
Samantha Gaines, head of companion animals at the RSPCA said: “We’re lucky to have so many wonderful people adopting rescue animals from our centres and branches every week, but the reality is, it’s not enough.
“The number of animals we’re taking in currently isn’t balancing with the number that are being adopted, and we’re well on our way to a crisis point.
“We fear even more unwanted animals will be coming into our care, as the cost of living crisis bites. This year already we’ve received 9,748 calls about abandoned or unwanted animals, compared to 8,551 in the first six months of 2022.
“Before long, all of our centres will be full to bursting.
“That’s why we’ve launched Adoptober – one month dedicated to promoting amazing rescue pets, and why people looking to add an animal to their family should always choose to adopt.
“Adoptober is a chance for us to celebrate how much pets can benefit our lives, shine a light on the many animals we currently have looking for new homes, and highlight support and advice for people to keep their animals safely during the cost of living crisis.
“We’d never advise anybody to get a pet if they’re not fully committed or in a position to provide for that animal, but, for those who are looking for advice on how to manage, we’ve got plenty of information on our website – such as our cost of living pet tips and pet cost calculator.”
Staff at RSPCA Bryn-Y-Maen Animal Centre are looking for a special home for six-year-old lurcher crossbreed Harry, who came into RSPCA in a very poor condition.
Clare Jones from centre said: “When Harry came into RSPCA care he was emaciated and had many scars on his face.
“He was found in a filthy backyard with no shelter and was underweight – with a wound to the end of his tail.
“Thankfully, in RSPCA care, he has transformed and is now looking and feeling much better. He came to RSPCA Bryn-Y-Maen from another centre and now we wish more than anything that we can find him a forever home where he can lounge on a sofa to his heart’s content.”
Elsewhere, at Newport, staff are doing everything they can to find a forever home for Jack Russell Shiloh.
RSPCA deputy centre manager Kath Logan said: “Despite being 11, Shiloh is full of life, energetic and enjoys her walks and playtime.
“Shiloh is a lovely girl that enjoys her cuddles and playing fetch in our paddock area, she enjoys keeping busy and loves attention.
“Little Shiloh came into us with some skin problems and with some medicated baths her skin is now under control and she is feeling much better and ready to find her forever home.
“We are really hoping this month will be her Adoptober!”
The RSPCA hopes Adoptober will be a celebration of rescue pets all across Wales – and beyond.
Samantha added: “Our frontline rescuers and animal care teams will continue to be there for every animal as much as possible, but we need the support of animal lovers more than ever right now to make sure we see as many animals as possible get their second chance at a happy life with loving adopters.
“Sharing our lives and homes with pets can be so rewarding and fulfilling. Throughout this month, we want to celebrate all the many wonderful things that animals bring to our lives. We want to inspire those who are in a position to adopt a pet to open their homes to an animal in need of a new start, to help reduce the pressure on the RSPCA centres and branches.
“Even if you can’t open your home to a pet, we all have the power to take action for animals. You can support the RSPCA by sharing our message or donating to help us continue our vital work.”
Could you offer a rescue pet a loving new home? Please visit the RSPCA’s Find A Pet to see all of the animals currently in the charity’s care who are looking for their paw-fect match.
If you can’t offer a rescue pet a new home perhaps you could help in a different way?
Help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming by donating online or calling their donation line on 0300 123 8181;
Sponsor a cat pod or a dog kennel and help take care of the animals during their stay with the charity;
Support the work of your local centre or branch by becoming a volunteer or donating to them directly.