Hundreds of animals have been abandoned in West Sussex this year, part of a growing national trend, according to Southwater-based RSPCA.
Staff and volunteers have seen an alarming increase in animals being abandoned across England and Wales and the RSPCA expects the situation to get worse over the winter months.
They have been called out to deal with 29,770 reports of abandoned animals so far in England and Wales this year - an increase of 33 per cent since 2009.
In fact, 210,952 abandoned animals have been reported in the last five years - enough to fill every seat in the Royal Albert Hall 40 times over.
RSPCA staff officer Dermot Murphy 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.
“Worse still, holidays like Christmas can lead to an increase in abandonments as some people choose to get rid of their pets rather than pay for them to be looked after while they are on holiday.
“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 deliberately dumping their animals in out of the way places – like bins, skips or on waste ground – and leaving them to an unknown fate.”