Almost 700 animals were abandoned in Somerset over the past year, according to new rspca figures, including a dog dumped on a roadside in a cage near Burnham-On-Sea.

The RSPCA says that there were 696 abandoned animals reported in 2021, with 473 reported so far this year in the period January to July 2022.

The number of animals being dumped is also on the rise nationally with a 17% increase from 2020 to 2021 and a 24% increase in 2022.

The charity is concerned that a big jump in pet ownership during the pandemic, coupled with the cost of living crisis putting a strain on people’s finances, will result in more animals being given up this year.

The RSPCA has released the stark figures as part of its ‘Cancel Out Cruelty’ campaign which aims to raise funds to keep its rescue teams on the frontline saving animals in desperate need of help as well as raise awareness about how we can all work together to stop cruelty for good.

Dermot Murphy, chief inspectorate officer at the RSPCA, says: “The idea of putting your cat in a cat carrier and taking them to a secluded spot in the woods before walking away, or chucking your dog out of the car and driving off leaving them desperately running behind the vehicle, is absolutely unthinkable and heartbreaking to most pet owners – but sadly we are seeing animals callously abandoned like this every single day.”

“We understand that sometimes the unexpected can happen – the pandemic and cost of living crisis proved that – but there is never an excuse to abandon an animal. There are always other options for anyone who has fallen on hard times and can no longer afford to keep their pet.”

From January to July 2021 there were 18,375 abandonment reports compared to 22,908 in the first seven months of this year – a rise of 24%.

The RSPCA receives around 90,000 calls to its cruelty line every month but in the summer, calls rise to 134,000 a month and reports of cruelty soar to 7,600 each month or 245 every day.

In Somerset, a dog named Elsa was taken to the RSPCA Brent Knoll Animal Centre by a member of the public who reported finding her in a cage beside the road in Burtle near Burnham-On-Sea.

RSPCA animal rescue officer, Alison Sparkes, says: “It’s shocking to think that someone simply intentionally abandoned her, leaving her all alone in a cage at the side of the road.”

“Thankfully, she was discovered by a member of the public who was able to bring her to safety with the team at RSPCA Brent Knoll Animal Centre.”

“She was dirty and smelly with overgrown nails and a filthy coat when she arrived at the shelter. “She also has very large teats from probably having multiple litters and we were concerned she may have been used for breeding before being dumped.”

To find out more about the Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, and to help support the RSPCA, visit

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