20,000 Neglect Calls To RSPCA In West Yorkshire In 2018

Two Indian ring-necked parakeets who were dumped in a bag for life in a hedge in Bradford in May last year. 

The RSPCA received more than 480 calls about exotic animals last year in West Yorkshire, new figures show.

The UK’s largest and oldest animal welfare charity has released its annual statistics which reveal the plight of the more unusual animals being kept as pets and for entertainment in the UK.

Nationally, the charity received a total of 15,790 calls about abandoned, stray, sick, suffering and neglected exotic reptiles, mammals, birds and fish, more than 40 a day, or more than one every hour. 

The RSPCA received more than 487 calls about exotic animals last year in West Yorkshire and rescued 101 exotic animals and three exotic fish being kept as pets.

20,572 calls reporting cruelty, neglect, injury and suffering of all animals were made in West Yorkshire last year - the fourth highest amount in England - including 6,588 about cats, 6,112 about dogs and 1,638 about horses.

Two Indian ring-necked parakeets who were dumped in a bag for life in a hedge in Bradford in May last year. 

RSPCA animal collection officer (ACO) Alan Farr was called by staff at the veterinary clinic. He said: “It’s so lucky that a member of the public spotted the bag and decided to investigate, otherwise they may have perished. To abandon any animal is shocking but to leave these birds tied up in a bag where they could have easily suffocated is disgusting. 

The birds - named Flip and Flop - were taken into the specialist care of Reptilia in Ossett and were later rehomed.

The RSPCA collects many stray pet birds every year, thought to be escaped pets, as well as receiving a number of calls about birds who have been abandoned. 

The charity urges owners to make sure their pet bird can be identified with a microchip, fitted by an avian vet, or closed ring, and to update the microchip details if the owners move. Otherwise, it is extremely difficult to reunite birds with their owners.

Chief Inspector for the area, Beth Clements, said: “Although their numbers are small compared to more common pets, we have real concerns about the welfare of reptiles and other exotic animals kept as pets or entertainment in this country.

“Reptiles and other exotic pets are completely reliant on their owners to meet their welfare needs including requiring the correct levels of heat, light and humidity, plus an appropriate diet. Many of the animals we’re called to help are found stray outside, where they can very quickly suffer in the cold.

“These animals are commonly found for sale in pet shops and are advertised online. At least in the past, animals have often been handed over to buyers with little or no information about how to care for them properly, although new regulations in England should improve this. In some cases, we believe owners take them on simply because they believe they will be easier to care for than other pets, but it is essential that people research what is required in the care of their pet, from food, equipment, environment and vet care, before taking one on. We would also urge them to ask for help if they’re struggling to meet their needs.

“We believe that people may buy them with little idea of how difficult they can be to keep and the animals are sometimes neglected when the novelty wears off and the commitment hits home. This is why we would encourage anyone thinking of getting an exotic pet to find out as much as possible about the animal’s needs and whether they’re the right pet for them.”

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