Animal abandonment in Berkshire has hit a three-year high as an animal welfare charity announced its rescue centres are full.

The RSPCA has revealed they have seen a 40.9 per cent rise in incidents in Berkshire, with fears unwanted pets face a bleak winter.

The stats have come as the ongoing cost of living crisis is seeing many households on the breadline.

The charity has revealed it is on course to receive 195 reports of animal abandonment this year - marking a 40.9 per cent rise in the number of reports received in the local community in 2020.

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.

“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 Berkshire - abandonments have soared and many rescue centres are full to bursting, so we are facing an unprecedented winter crisis. 

“Our rescue teams are set to be busier than ever this Christmas - so we need animal lovers to join the Christmas rescue and donate to help us be there for animals in desperate need as neglect and abandonment soars.”

Two rabbits were abandoned in a wire cage in a car park in Slough in August 2023. These are just some of the animals abandoned in the county.

The rabbits - one male and one female - were found by a taxi driver at The Grove car park. They were named  Jessica and Roger by RSPCA animal rescue officer Chloe Wilson.

Chloe said: “They were in a very vulnerable position, having been abandoned inside a cage in a car park. I dread to think what could have happened to them if they hadn’t been found.”

Dermot added: “For nearly 200 years, the RSPCA has been working tirelessly to bring animals to safety and give them the expert treatment and compassion they deserve.

“We’ll continue to do so for as long as we’re needed but we can’t do that without the support of fellow animal lovers. Together, we could save more lives.

“The support of the public helps neglected and abandoned animals in so many ways - from buying soft, warm bedding and nourishing food for an animal who’s desperately cold and hungry, to funding vital vet care for an animal who’s suffering and in pain.”

This year the RSPCA is asking supporters to Join the Christmas Rescue by donating to help rescue teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need them.