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YORKSHIRE RSPCA officers have collected the bodies of two dogs who were found dead in suspicious circumstances, one in Barnsley.
The charity was alerted after members of the public made the upsetting discoveries in two separate incidents. On Wednesday (January 24) the charity’s officers were called to Grimethorpe after an adult chow-type dog was found in a stream off the High Street. The matted tan-coloured dog, possibly female, was bloated and decomposed and had been covered by a blue blanket next to her discarded bed.
Although there were no obvious injuries, it wasn’t possible to do an examination because of the length of time she’d been in the water.
A scan revealed a foreign microchip which couldn’t be traced and officers believe the circumstances in which she was found with her discarded bed are suspicious.
A separate incident last Saturday (January 20) involved a four to six-week-old female dachshund puppy who’d been put in a plastic bag and wrapped in a red blanket before being abandoned in bushes on Pontefract Road – next to Ferrybridge Cemetery – in Knottingley.
A veterinary examination showed the puppy had ringworm and alopecia, the latter of which appears to have been treated with Sudocrem. There was also evidence that a flea treatment had been applied and had caused her to become ill. She is believed to have died less than 24 hours earlier.
Animal rescue officer Ollie Wilkes, who collected the body of the dachshund puppy, said: “Incidents like this are extremely upsetting for members of the public to come across, and we’d like to thank everyone who stopped to help.
“For those of us who love our pets and treat them as part of the family, it’s difficult to understand how someone could dump the body of a dog in circumstances like these.
“Every abandonment call we get tells a different story, but the cost of living crisis is clearly having an impact. Sadly, with more owners feeling the pinch, we've seen many resorting to desperate measures – like dumping animals who perhaps become ill or they can no longer afford or don’t want anymore.
“Coupled with a boom in pet ownership during the pandemic - with some new owners potentially unprepared for the long-term commitment – it has left us facing huge animal welfare challenges.”
Incidents of animal abandonment are at a three-year high. In 2023, the RSPCA’s emergency line received 20,999 reports about a dumped animal – more than in 2022 (19,645), 2021 (17,179) and 2020 (16,118). Reports were 30 per cent higher in 2023 than in 2020.
The charity says the current economic climate, combined with the pandemic, has created a perfect storm for animal welfare and its officers are seeing the impact on the frontline - with reports of abandoned animals increasing as owners resort to desperate measures.
A third case is also being investigated in Yorkshire after a muzzled XL bully dog was found last Monday after she was believed to have been thrown to her death from a bridge in Sheffield.
Anyone with information about these incidents can contact the RSPCA’s appeals line on 0300 123 8018.