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Last Updated: Monday April 28 2008 06:54 GMT

Huge increase in abandoned pets

A dog at a rescue centre

The number of pets being abandoned by their owners has leapt up over the past year, according to the animal charity, the RSPCA.

Staff rescued nearly 150,000 animals in 2007, including lots that had to be saved during the summer floods.

But officials said the numbers also included 7,347 pets who'd just been dumped - up a whopping 1,388 from 2006.

Some of the owners said they'd abandoned their animals because they couldn't look after them any more.

Other excuses are said to have included: "My dog hurts my legs when she wags her tail," and "my cat doesn't match my new carpet."

An RSPCA spokesman said it was always available to offer pet owners advice.

"It is an offence to abandon any animal and there is never any excuse for doing so," he said.

"If people have pets they cannot care for, for any reason, then help and advice is always available from the RSPCA."