Suffolk residents are being asked to “open up their homes and their hearts” and become foster carers, as the region has one of the highest numbers of pets that need to be rehomed.

People who can temporarily adopt abandoned animals are urgently needed to help free up spaces in animal centres.

About 40 animals in the Essex and Suffolk region are waiting to be rehomed.

The RSPCA has launched its annual Adoptober campaign that aims to encourage prospective pet owners to consider giving a rescued animal a new home.

Brian Reeves, the head of volunteering at the RSPCA, said: “We are in the middle of an animal crisis, and we can only see it getting worse over the winter months as the cost-of-living crisis bites.

"It’s absolutely vital that we free up as much space in RSPCA centres now, so we’ve got room for animal victims of neglect and cruelty we rescued in the coming weeks and months - and more fosterers is going to be crucial in achieving that.”

The RSPCA is looking for more foster carers who will be provided with all the financial, emotional and some logistical support they need in providing temporary care for the animal, including any medication the pet may be taking and funding for any ongoing veterinary treatment.

Fostering also gives people who would normally be unable to take in an animal long-term an alternative and an opportunity to have pets in the home.

Mr Reeves added: “Put simply - we urgently need more people willing to open up their homes, and their hearts, to help give dogs, cats and other animals a fresh start in life.

“Thankfully, it’s such a great role. Fostering can be challenging work but it’s also incredibly rewarding - and makes such a huge difference to the individual animal, as well as to us.

“It can also be hugely beneficial for the fosterer too; allowing them to have the company of a pet without the long-term or financial commitment of adopting.”

Those who cannot foster an animal can donate to help the charity.