Local government plays a key role in animal welfare – and the RSPCA works closely with councils on issues such as enforcement, licensing, kennelling, stray dog provision, and more.
Across large parts of England, on May 4, more than 8,000 local government seats will be contested within 230 council areas – with the thousands of politicians elected at the ballot box.
RSPCA said its officers are seeing the impact of the cost of living crisis on the frontline – with more people abandoning animals, more animals coming into the charity’s care, and rehoming slowing as financial pressures bite; so its work with councils is more important than ever.
The election comes at a busy time for RSPCA officers on the frontline. In 2022, the charity investigated and closed 63,563 complaints of alleged cruelty across England and Wales – an increase of 23.4% on the previous year; and problems continue in 2023.
In February alone, 1,324 incidents of animal abandonment were reported to the animal rescue charity – compared to 1,226 for the same month last year, a rise of 8% – with cost of living pressures believed to be a major factor.
Lee Gingell, the RSPCA’s public affairs manager for local government, said: “Local authorities are responsible for enforcing many animal welfare laws, and stand with us on the frontline for animals.
“Sadly, levels of animal neglect remain very high – and the cost of living crisis is the single biggest challenge for animal welfare right now. Ahead of the elections in May, pet owners and their animals across England face such a tough time.
“But new councils and councillors elected in May will be in a unique position to transform the lives of animals.”