Somerset has seen a sharp rise in cases of abandoned animals, according to the RSPCA.
The spike marks a three-year-high in animal abandonment incidents, leading the RSPCA to wanton a 'bleak winter' ahead for unwanted pets.
This year so far, the charity has received 296 reports of abandoned animals, 26 per cent more than in 2020.
Dermot Murphy, who heads the RSPCA frontline rescue teams, said: “The combined effects of the pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis has created a perfect storm - and means we expect more animals than ever will need our help this year. "Abandonment calls to our emergency line are now at a three-year high, as we respond to an increasing number of animals being given up and dumped. “Behind these shocking statistics are thousands of vulnerable animals. Each one is a valuable life in urgent need of our help.
“We’re desperately concerned about the coming winter months in Somerset. Abandonments have soared and many rescue centres are full to bursting, so we are facing an unprecedented winter crisis. “Our rescue teams are set to be busier than ever this Christmas - so we need animal lovers to join the Christmas rescue and donate to help us be there for animals in desperate need as neglect and abandonment soars.
“For nearly 200 years, the RSPCA has been working tirelessly to bring animals to safety and give them the expert treatment and compassion they deserve. “We’ll continue to do so for as long as we’re needed but we can’t do that without the support of fellow animal lovers. Together, we could save more lives. “The support of the public helps neglected and abandoned animals in so many ways - from buying soft, warm bedding and nourishing food for an animal who’s desperately cold and hungry, to funding vital vet care for an animal who’s suffering and in pain.”