ANIMAL charity the RSPCA has revealed that it has found loving new homes for almost 7,000 animals in a decade in Devon, with the remarkable rehoming feat revealed to mark its 200th birthday in 2024.

The charity has come a long way since 1824 when founding members of the charity met in a coffee shop in London determined to change animals’ lives, creating the then SPCA and sparking an animal welfare movement that spread around the world.

Now, as the RSPCA enters its landmark 200th anniversary year, the charity wants to inspire a one million strong movement for animals, as the charity aims to ‘create a better world for every animal’.

Today Devon is served by a team of RSPCA rescuers who save animals and investigate cruelty while also offering welfare advice and help to pet owners in need. 

The county is also home to independent RSPCA branches  - Devon and Plymouth and South West Devon - which rehabilitate and rehome rescued animals and help animals most in need in the area. These separately registered charities raise money locally to support the animal welfare work they do.

Many will have endured horrendous suffering but with the care of dedicated staff and volunteers they will be helped to recover before they are found loving homes.

The latest available figures show that in the 10 years up until the end of 2022 new homes have been found for 6,658 animals in the county. 

Additionally they have helped pet owners in the county by providing: 10,737 neuters (to stop unwanted pregnancies and promote responsible ownership) and 3,448  microchips - to help reunite lost pets with their owners.

Nationally the charity has rehomed 405,839 pets in need of a new home since 2013 thanks to its network of 140 branches and animal centres across England and Wales which equates to 111 animals every day.

Also during that time 615,000 animals have been patients at the charity’s hospitals for anything from life-saving operations to welfare treatments and a 1.7 million vet treatments have been carried out.

Local RSPCA teams have helped thousands more animals in the county and are determined to carry on their amazing work as the RSPCA marks a new chapter at a time when animals are facing bigger challenges than ever with the cost of living crisis.

Animal neglect and abandonment is at a three-year high. 

In 2023, the RSPCA received 72,050 reports about animal abandonment and neglect, higher than in 2022, 2021 and 2020.

Dermot Murphy, RSPCA inspectorate commissioner, said: ‘We have even more animals in need of help coming into our care but at the same time rehoming has been declining sharply, meaning thousands fewer rescue pets are being adopted and our branches and centres are full to bursting.

‘We are also faced with increased bills and less donations due to the cost of living crisis which is one of the biggest challenges facing animal welfare right now and this economic hardship is continuing into our 200th anniversary year.

‘But we are determined to rise to the challenge and help animals and pet owners who need us more than ever. 

‘That’s why we’re currently asking supporters to Join the Winter Rescue by donating to help our rescue teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need them.

‘Animals are now facing bigger challenges than ever as a result of factory farming, climate change, war and a cost of living crisis. 

‘In our 200th year we want to inspire one million people to join our movement to improve animals’ lives.

‘We’ve been changing industries, laws, minds, and animals’ lives for 200 years. Together, there are actions, big and small, we can take to create a better world for every animal.’

The charity is also asking supporters to Join the Winter Rescue and make a donation to help rescue teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need them. 

More information can be found on the RSPCA’s 200th anniversary webpage: