NUMBERS of abandoned animals have doubled with owners having to give up their pets as the cost-of-living rises.

Over 500 reports of abandoned animals have been made in Sussex so far this year according to the RSPCA.

Nearly 300 of these have been reported in West Sussex, where figures are nearly matching those for the whole of 2021.

The Argus: Dogs have been abandoned across SussexDogs have been abandoned across Sussex

Owners are being forced to give up their animals as a result of a number of factors including rising prices and families not being able to provide for their lockdown pets.

Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer at the RSPCA, said: “The idea of putting your cat in a cat carrier and taking them to a secluded spot in the woods before walking away, or chucking your dog out of the car and driving off leaving them desperately running behind the vehicle, is absolutely unthinkable and heartbreaking to most pet owners - but sadly we are seeing animals callously abandoned like this every single day.

“We understand that sometimes the unexpected can happen - the pandemic and cost of living crisis proved that - but there is never an excuse to abandon an animal. There are always other options for anyone who has fallen on hard times and can no longer afford to keep their pet.”

Among the animals abandoned in Sussex this year is Sizzle, a six-year-old dachshund who is being looked after at the Mount Noddy rescue centre in Chichester.

The Argus: Sizzle, 6, is looking to be re-homed in West SussexSizzle, 6, is looking to be re-homed in West Sussex

Sizzle is thought to have been registered abroad as well as having had multiple litters of puppies.

Other dogs being looked after in the area include crossbreed Nigel, who was abandoned over a year ago.

He is still looking for a new home, but has been described as “quick to befriend people.”

The Argus: Nigel is described as happy to befriend peopleNigel is described as happy to befriend people

According to a YouGov survey, nearly 80 per cent of pet owners were worried that the cost-of-living crisis would affect the care for their pet, with concerns particularly prevalent in cat owners.

Nearly 40,000 pets were abandoned in 2021, over half of which were dogs and cats. The RSPCA has also been contacted about exotic animals such as snakes.