THE RSPCA has received the fifth highest amount of abandoned animal calls from people in Dorset.

The animal welfare charity has urged struggling owners not to dump pets after it received more than 10,000 calls nationally about animals in just three months last summer.

It is braced for a summer welfare crisis as calls about abandoned animals across England and Wales soared by 50 per cent in June to August last year, compared to the colder months.

In the South West, the charity received 113 calls from Dorset - the fifth highest in the region.

The largest amount of calls came from Hampshire, where 209 reports were made between June and August in 2017.

The number of abandoned animals taken by the charity nationally also peaked in June last year, with 850 dumped pets rescued.

RSPCA's superintendent for the South West region, Lee Hopgood, said: "We see every type of animal abandoned, from dogs, cats and small animals to horses, farm animals and even exotic animals like pythons, just left out on the street in their vivariums.

"Every animal has specific welfare needs and it's so dangerous to leave any animal abandoned and having to fend for itself.

"There's no saying why people choose to abandon their animals, or why this rises in the summer.

"Possibly people dump their animals when they head off on holiday and haven't found anyone to look after their pet when they're away.

"Or maybe they feel less guilty leaving a pet to fend for itself in the warmer weather, compared to the cold winter months."

This summer, the charity has already seen a number of neglected animals, including two kittens dumped in woodland in New Milton at the end of June. One was suffering with an injury that resulted in him having to have an eye removed.

Lee said: "Abandoning pets should never be seen as a solution to the problem, and we are urging pet owners to take responsibility for their animals.

"When people take on a new pet, whatever that animal may be, they need to research it, make sure it will suit their lifestyle, and that they will be able to provide for it for the entirety of its life, however long that may be."