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Trapped, choked, mutilated or even killed – this is the stark reality for animals living in dirty streets tarnished by carelessly discarded rubbish. Over the past four years, the RSPCA has received almost 13,000 alerts of animals injured by litter across England and Wales.

And shocking new data from the charity has ranked the West Midlands fifth for such litter-related incidents, with a total of 437 issues reported to the local RSPCA over that time period. A startling average of 13 reports per day were recorded last year during the peak months of May, June, July and August – when there is a particular litter hazard for animals, RSPCA added.

A hedgehog entangled in old barbed wire, a fox cub with litter caught round his neck and a goose with an old drinks can stuck to her lower beak were among some of the distressing incidents dealt with by the charity.

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The case of a Great Black Backed Gull whose leg became almost completely detached by an old fishing line, was also one of the horrific incidents caused by litter.

Amongst mammals, litter-related reports to the RSPCA were highest for foxes, hedgehogs and deer, while among wild birds, swans, pigeons and gulls bore the greatest brunt of discarded rubbish. And the RSPCA now even warn family pets such as cats or dogs are being impacted by litter.

The ten counties with the biggest litter problem, based on reports to the RSPCA over four years, were: Greater London (1,439), Devon (594), Kent (526), Greater Manchester (500), West Midlands (437), Essex (428), East Sussex (399), Hampshire (395), Merseyside (362) and Cornwall (300).

RSPCA anti-litter campaigns manager Carrie Stones urged everyone to “do their bit in the war against litter.” She said: “Our rescuers deal with thousands of avoidable incidents every year where animals have been impacted by litter.

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