A charity is preparing for a surge in dumped family pets as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

In previous years the RSPCA has seen more than 80 animals dumped in the summertime and they fear people who are now in financial difficulty will abandon them.

Typically, the charity sees abandonment peak in the summer months. Between June and August 2019, 16,519 animals were reported abandoned to the RSPCA which accounts for 30 per cent of all animals reported abandoned that year.

Last summer they received 85 reports about dumped animals in Cumbria. This included two newborn kittens abandoned at a hotel in Grange-over-Sands last August. The kittens were found by a gardener at the Grand Hotel, they were so young they’d not opened their eyes.

Thankfully, the newborns were kept safe until an officer collected them and took them to a foster carer to be hand-reared and rehomed.

The RSPCA is braced for an even bigger impact this summer following the easing of lockdown and the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic and it has launched an emergency appeal to continue its vital rescue work.

During the three months since lockdown they have received reports about 3,492 abandoned animals – about 40 calls a day including 1,509 dogs, 1,165 cats, 299 small furries such as hamsters, guinea pigs and ferrets and 275 exotic pets.

Dermot Murphy, head of the animal rescue teams, said: “During lockdown we’ve seen pets become a source of comfort and support for people and it appears many people have taken on new animals. Fortunately during this time we’ve dealt with fewer abandoned pets however we are worried that as lockdown eases, people return to work, go on holidays or struggle financially we will be facing a massive surge of animal abandonments.

“Sadly summer tends to bring with it a surge in abandoned animals. We don’t know why but it may be a combination of the warmer weather making people feel less guilty about dumping a pet to fend for themselves and people going away on holiday abandoning pets instead of arranging care for them.”