RSPCA: Pets treated like rubbish
Pets have been found dumped in bins, boxes and even a cemetery in the run-up to the summer holidays as owners choose to abandon them rather than pay for their care while they are away, a charity has said.
The RSPCA said there had been an "alarming increase" in animals being dumped across England and Wales.
It appeared that some people choose to get rid of their pets rather than pay for them to be looked after while they are on holiday, the charity said.
Money may also be spent on holidays and other summer "treats" rather than seeking vet attention for ill or newborn animals, so they are simply discarded, it added.
In the last year, the charity said it had been called out to rescue more than 37,000 abandoned animals.
The list of places where pets have been abandoned since last month have included a dog in a duffel bag, chinchillas found in a cage in a cemetery and very young rabbits discovered in a plant pot inside a shopping bag.
A mother cat and kittens have also been found dumped in a wheelie bin and a terrapin left in a bucket in a children's playground.
The charity added that a man walked into a branch of Tesco and asked a woman to hold his cat while he called the RSPCA and then never returned.
RSPCA deputy chief inspector Ben Strangwood said: "The shocking fact is that even in a nation of animal lovers, there are thousands of people out there who don't care about their pets at all. In fact, some literally treat them like rubbish.
"It's bad enough when we find a box of kittens wrapped in blankets on our doorstep with a note but now people are deliberately dumping their animals in out-of-the-way places - like bins, skips or on waste ground - and leaving them to die."