THE RSPCA is urging struggling owners in the south west not to dump pets after it was revealed last summer Hampshire was the worst county for abandoning animals in the hottest months.

The charity is braced for a summer welfare crisis as calls about abandoned animals across England and Wales soared by 50 per cent in June to August last year compared to the colder months.

In its south west region, the charity received 209 calls from Hampshire about abandoned animals in just three months with Devon close behind with 208 calls.

London topped the list of the worst counties for animal abandonment complaints with 892 calls.

Overall, the charity received more than 10,000 calls nationally about abandoned animals in just three months last summer.

The number of abandoned animals taken in by the charity nationally also peaked in June last year with 850 dumped pets rescued.

The RSPCA’s superintendent for the south west region, Lee Hopgood said: “We see every type of animal abandoned from dogs, cats and small animals to horses, farm animals and even exotic animals like pythons just left out on the street in their vivariums.

"Every animal has specific welfare needs and it’s so dangerous to leave any animal abandoned and having to fend for itself.

“There’s no saying why people choose to abandon their animals, or why this rises in the summer - possibly people dump their animals when they head off on holiday and haven’t found anyone to look after their pet when they’re away. Or maybe they feel less guilty, leaving a pet to fend for itself in the warmer weather, compared to the cold winter months.

“We can only guess that it can be a number of factors - for examples when people’s circumstances change and they are no longer be in a position to look after their pet. However, we sadly see a number of abandoned animals with very serious injuries or illness, which is just heartbreaking.”

The RSPCA advises that if pet owners are going away on holiday, they should make sure their pet is cared for by asking friends or family to care for them, calling a pet sitter or taking them to a licensed boarding establishment.

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