CASES of animals being dumped in West Yorkshire have risen sharply since the pandemic and cost-of-living crisis, new figures show.

The RSPCA said today it is on course to receive 1,181 reports of animal abandonment in West Yorkshire this year - marking a 35.5 per cent increase on the number of reports it received in the county in 2020.

The animal welfare charity said it faces an "unprecedented winter crisis" as many rescue centres are "full to bursting".

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 West Yorkshire.

"Abandonments have soared and many rescue centres are full to bursting, so we are facing an unprecedented winter crisis. "

Many owners are struggling to look after their pets due to things like the rising cost of food and vet bills, according to Mr Murphy,

He added that more people also took on pets during the Covid pandemic when they had more time - and perhaps they were unprepared for the long-term commitment an animal needs.

Other organisations and rescues in Bradford are also dealing with abandoned animals. 

Earlier this year, the Telegraph & Argus reported on Rosa the cat.

For most of this year, Bradford Cat Watch Rescue and Sanctuary looked after Rosa, who was found abandoned on a doorstep in the city in February after being seriously injured by corrosive chemicals.

The 10-month-old underwent surgery to repair her eyelids and her wounds have healed - and she has now left the sanctuary after finding a loving new home.

Already this year, up to the end of October, the RSPCA has received 17,838 reports of abandoned animals across England and Wales - which, if such trends continue, would equate to 21,417 reports over 2023.

This compares with 16,118 reports during the whole of 2020, meaning the RSPCA is on course to see a 32.9 per cent rise in abandonment calls this year.