Hundreds of small pets were rescued by a charity after being found abandoned, new figures have revealed.
The RSPCA nationally took in a total of 1,029 small furry animals at its centres after they were abandoned in 2016, including rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, chinchillas, degus, rats, ferrets, gerbils, and mice.
Bosses from the organisation say the figure has risen on the previous year, and more than 400 small pets have been dumped so far in 2017.
The latest statistics come after 13 rabbits were found abandoned in Blackpool.
Rabbits have the biggest cases of abandonments, with 477 in 2016, and 153 have been dumped so far this year.
The RSPCA says some of the small animals, which are usually bought as a child’s first pet, can often be left when owners become bored or no longer want them.
In April, Longview Animal Centre in Poulton-Le-Fylde near Blackpool discovered 13 rabbits dumped in a large cardboard box outside its.
The rabbits are a mix of ages and breeds with the youngest just eight-weeks-old.
Centre manager Hannah Kirrane said: “The rabbits were suffering from eye infections and they were very poorly and confused when found.
"We would urge people not to abandon any animal, great or small, in this way.
“The RSPCA understands that circumstances can change which can mean people may no longer be in a position to look after their pet but if something like this happens, we would urge pet owners to act responsibly.
"Whether a large pet or a small furry every animal deserves the right care and attention to make them happy.”
Two of the rabbits were too ill and had to be put to sleep on veterinary advice to end their suffering.
The other 11, which includes seven males and four females, are now recovering well.
When staff watched CCTV footage back. they saw a man leave the rabbits and then jump in a car but unfortunately the registration plate was not visible on the footage and the man has not been located.
The rabbits will be rehomed once they have recovered.
Rats and guinea pigs are the second and third highest of the small furries to be abandoned with 178 domestic rats and 112 guinea pigs abandoned last year.
In 2016, the RSPCA also took in 77 hamsters after they were dumped and so far this year there have been 54 hamsters turfed out.
If you have any information on how the 13 rabbits came to be abandoned please call the inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.