CARMARTHENSHIRE and Neath Port Talbot were two of the Welsh counties with the highest number of calls concerning neglected animals to the RSPCA in 2023.

The charity revealed that across the UK, 43,360 reports of neglect were reported to them in 2023, up to the end of October.

2,904 of these were in Wales alone, with 218 calls being made in Carmarthenshire and 189 in Neath Port Talbot during this period. These are the fourth and fifth highest numbers in Wales.

The charity has released the figures as part of its Join the Christmas Rescue campaign to support frontline staff ahead of what is predicted to be a ‘bleak’ winter season for pets and other animals.

The RSPCA said that its line was open for 3,474 hours during the first 10 months of the year, and that there was an average of 12.5 calls reporting neglect every hour. The charity’s figures also showed that the number of calls about neglect in October 2023 alone had significantly increased based on the same month in 2022 – with 4,387 in October 2023 compared to 3,818 in October 2022.

The data follows previously released statistics which suggested that calls about abandoned animals are at a three-year high and the charity expects to receive more than 21,400 calls about unwanted and dumped animals in 2023.

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA inspectorate commissioner, said: “Thousands of animals’ lives are hanging in the balance this Christmas with animal neglect reports a real cause for concern – including in Wales.

“Across the board, our emergency line is getting a call about a neglected animal every 288 seconds. Combine those levels of neglect with rising abandonments, the cost of living crisis, and the cold weather this winter, and we fear this could be a very bleak time for animals.

“But there is hope. Our frontline officers work tirelessly to bring neglected animals to safety – and it’s the kind-hearted public who power these rescue efforts.

“This winter, our rescue teams are set to be very busy trying to help and reach so many neglected animals – which is why we need animal lovers to join the Christmas rescue now more than ever, and donate to help us be there for neglected animals in their time of need.”

One of the animals rescued from neglect included Peter the cat. He was one of nine cats found in seven tiny stacked cages. He was riddled with fleas and had no food, just a filthy water bowl. Litter trays were overflowing and the RSPCA inspector at the scene was left struggling to breathe. Thankfully Peter and the eight other cats were rescued and are now in loving new homes.