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Abandoned Dogs - The Epidemic

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Every year many dogs are abandoned by their owners. Some are rescued, others are not so lucky. You might imagine that Christmas is the most common time of year for pets to be cast aside, but this is not the case. These days, it is the summer months which see the most pets abandoned by their owners. But why would that be the case?

School Holidays

The problem is holidays. Dog owners book their summer escapes and if they struggle to find anyone willing to look after their animals in their absence, they simply jet off and leave them to fend for themselves.

The RSPCA has reported that one pet is abandoned every hour during the school summer holidays. In 2015, 1087 pets were abandoned in the month of July compared to 741 in January. Summer holidays were definitely more problematic than Christmas.

Three Spaniels Left to fend for Themselves

Jennifer Knight, 39, from Lincolnshire was a typical case. She decided to go abroad for her holiday whilst leaving her three Cavalier King Charles spaniels alone in her garden. An outbuilding piled high with junk provided the only shelter for the dogs.

The RSPCA say that many owners book their holidays and then fail to find anyone to look after their pet while they are away. Perhaps some don’t even try to arrange care. In the case of Ms Knight’s spaniels, the RSPCA were called when neighbours became concerned for the dogs.

Sick and Hungry

The spaniels, Ringo, Beanie and Poppy were found to be extremely thin and were clearly ravenous. The outbuilding was a dangerous environment for them and a vet later confirmed that Beanie was suffering from a severe ear infection. Ringo needed dental work and poppy, who was only 6 months old, was incredibly underweight.

Pleading Guilty

Jennifer Knight was prosecuted and pleaded guilty to five counts of cruelty. She received an 18-month conditional discharge and was banned from owning animals for a period of five years. This seems like a comparatively mild punishment!

The three dogs were taken in by the RSPCA who provided the veterinary treatment that they needed. They are now looking for new forever homes.

When Pets become Inconvenient

Every day RSPCA inspectors find pets which have been cast aside or left to fend for themselves whilst their owners enjoy their summer holidays. It appears that, for some people at least, their pets are only worth bothering with when there’s no inconvenience or cost involved. This is a tragic situation which must be addressed.

If you have pets it is important to ensure that they can be cared for when you go away and there are plenty of options. A friend or neighbour may be prepared to look after them. Alternatively, pet minders are easy to source online and some will look after your pets for free if they can stay in your home. There are also many excellent catteries and kennels to choose from. If you have pets, the cost of their care should be factored into your holiday budget when you start planning your trip.


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