The RSPCA has made a national pledge to end the overpopulation of animals in the next five years – and it is calling on the public to help them achieve this.
Every year thousands of animals are abandoned or find themselves in the care of the RSPCA or other welfare organisations, and it is pushing animal charities to breaking point.
Overpopulation in companion animals leads to unwanted cats, dogs and rabbits – which often suffer from neglect and abandonment, terrible living conditions and insufficient or non-existent veterinary care.
James Yeates, Head of the RSPCA’s Companion animal department said: “There are a number of reasons why we have an ‘overpopulation’ of animals, from people who breed animals without knowing or caring whether they will find good homes to those breeding their animals accidentally, by not getting their pet neutered before they have a chance to reproduce.
“Animals can be abandoned due to irresponsible breeding practises, such as breeding dogs with genetic problems, which may then need expensive vet treatment.
“We, and other animal charities, also see the fallout from people that get pets without knowledge or ability to look after them and then abandon them or hand them over to us.
“Ideally what we would like to see is everybody who breeds an animal, everyone who has an animal and everyone who is thinking about getting an animal, all thinking responsibly about how they can be part of the solution and not part of the problem.”
National trends show that the number of stray dogs being picked up by local authorities rose in 2010/ 2011. Meanwhile there are still hundreds of animals being privately boarded at the RSPCA’s expense because there just isn’t any room in our own centres.
The RSPCA want to see a drop in the number of abandoned and stray dogs; fewer cats, dogs and rabbits being taken into our centres and fewer animals on our waiting lists because there is no space to take them in.
There are a number of projects underway to help achieve this, including:
- Promoting and performing neutering, especially in communities where it’s needed most.
- Improving adoption packs to support adoptees pre and post adoption-to cut down on number of returned animals.
- Engage and inform through companion animal campaigning activity such as our Puppy Buying campaign ‘Get Puppy Smart’; rabbit campaign and our irresponsible breeding campaign ‘Born to Suffer’*
- Tackling irresponsible dog breeding through our work with Welsh Assembly Government on legislation to improve regulation of dog breeding.
- Working with youth offending teams to address attitudes and behaviour of young people towards pet ownership.
- Working with companies to improve internet selling policies.
And it cannot be done without the help of the public. The RSPCA are urging people to take a few small steps when considering taking on an animal.
- Pet owners should get their own pets neutered and microchipped.
- Owners should choose pet insurance to protect their pets.
- To help stop pet overpopulation further, consider adoption from an animal centre rather than buying from a pet shop or breeder.
- Plan ahead and carefully – getting a pet is a long term commitment. Make sure you understand what a pet will need before you get one
The RSPCA will be tracking its progress over the next five years, and will be publishing yearly information to show the public how close we are to achieving our goal.
RSPCA Enquiries Service
West Sussex, UK
Zip: RH13 9RS
Tel: 0300 1234 999