Tortoises among more than 300 pets dumped in Gloucestershire already this year
One of the tortoises dumped next to a Pets at Home store
Three rare tortoises were among 318 pets dumped “like rubbish” in Gloucestershire in the past nine months.
The RSPCA said the figure was 146 per cent up on the same period five years ago.
That has prompted the charity to ask the public to help it cope with an expected increase in pets being dumped this winter.
The charity’s Midlands superintendent Kelly Rivers said: “Even in a nation of animal lovers, there are thousands of people out there who don’t care about their pets at all. In fact, some literally treat them like rubbish.
“Money may be spent on holidays and Christmas presents rather than seeking vet attention for ill or newborn animals, so they are dumped.
“It’s bad enough when we find a box of kittens wrapped in blankets on our doorstep with a note, but now people are dumping their animals in out of the way places – like bins, skips or on waste ground – and leaving them to an unknown fate.”
The tortoises were cared for at the Vale Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre near Tewkesbury after being found in the outdoor display of rabbit hutches at a Pets at Home store in Woodrow Way, Gloucester, on August 30.
Staff called the RSPCA who collected the animals and took them to be checked over by a specialist vet.
They were found to be cold and slightly underweight but otherwise unharmed by their ordeal.
“This was a very lucky escape for these tortoises, who require specialist care to keep them happy and healthy.
“If they had been left exposed to the elements for much longer this could have been a very different story,” said RSPCA animal welfare officer Steve Davies.
They were later taken from Vale Wildlife to a reptile rescue centre in Worcestershire.
Vale Wildlife is still caring for a rhea found near Hardwicke last month. Staff said the bird may have been an abandoned pet and collapsed with malnutrition.
To support the RSPCA’s winter campaign, text RESCUE to 70800 to give £3.