Figures released by the RSPCA show that it’s a “cruel summer” for hundreds of pets in England and Wales with one animal being abandoned every hour.
The statistics show that pets are most likely to be dumped in the summer months, with owners abandoning them and in many cases leaving them for dead.
RSPCA superintendent Simon Osborne said: “People often think that Christmas is the time we see the most abandoned animals – but it is actually the summer.
“In the summer months the number of dumped animals we rescue spikes up in number – with one animal being collected every hour on average.”
Last year 85 abandoned animals were collected by the RSPCA in Norfolk, in 2014 there were 81 and in 2013, 199 animals were found on their own.
In 2015, 2,751 animals were rescued by the animal welfare charity, with their highest number of admissions in July.
The charity said that one contributing factor is believed to be owners going on holiday with no one to look after their pets.
Mr Osborne added that inspectors often face cases where animals have been left abandoned in fields, dumped in boxes, left for dead at road sides and outside their animal centres and hospitals.
He said: “It is just heartbreaking. These poor animals are often just dumped without a care for their welfare or what might happen to them.
“We will never know why these animals are just discarded like rubbish. It could be for any number of reasons. Whether it is the fact that more pets are abandoned in the summer because the novelty of their Christmas present pet has worn off by the summer, they don’t want the responsibility of finding someone to look after their pet while they are away on holiday or whether more pets are found dumped because of the longer daylight hours we will never know.
“All we know is that there is a real peak in the number of abandonments in the summer months – July in particular – and it is animal welfare charities like us at the RSPCA that are left to pick up the pieces. There is a huge strain on our resources at this time of year because of this.
“Many abandoned animals tha are rescued by the RSPCA are very badly neglected and poorly so need urgent vet care and often hospital treatment.”
Some of the more disturbing cases the RSPCA has seen this year, both in Essex, include Bertie the Yorkshire terrier left in a wheelie bin and Peanut the lurcher puppy left under a bush.
Mr Osborne added: “When people take on a new pet - whatever that animal may be they do need to research it, make sure it will suit their lifestyle and that they will be able to provide for it for the entirety of its life – however long that may be.
“If pet owners are going away on holiday we would urge them to make sure their pet is cared for by asking friends or family to care for them, call a pet sitter or take them to a licensed boarding establishment.
“Every year the RSPCA and other animal welfare charities also see an increase in the number of young animals that come on to their care at this time of year after unplanned pregnancies result in unwanted litters – which is why we always advise people to get their pets neutered.”