Last Christmas Day busiest for six years, as we brace for toughest year yet

Last Christmas Day busiest for six years, as we brace for toughest year yet

We've launched a new Christmas campaign - Join the Christmas Rescue - as it reveals it took in more than 7,000 animals last winter and received more than 2,000 calls about cruelty and neglect a day.

We're bracing ourselves for the toughest Christmas yet as we fear the financial strain from the Coronavirus pandemic could mean a rise in pets being abandoned and neglected.

RSPCA Inspector carrying a cat in blanket © RSPCA

Last Christmas Day, we received more than 950 calls, the highest number since 2013 and we received 63,000 calls throughout December, or 2,000 a day, making it the busiest Christmas period for at least four years.

Last year, there were more than 3,500 animals in our care on Christmas Day and this year, faced with the financial strain of the Coronavirus crisis, we're concerned that more people may struggle to care for their pets and could see a rise in them being abandoned or neglected, putting more pressure on our rescue teams than ever before.

Our officers are out on the frontline 365 days a year, including Christmas Day. Despite the pandemic, this year will be no exception with frontline teams saving animals and caring for them at our centres and hospitals across England and Wales, as they've been doing throughout the crisis.

Working every day of the year including Christmas

This year we're asking supporters to Join the Christmas Rescue by donating to help our rescue teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need them.

Dermot Murphy, head of our animal rescue teams, said:

Christmas may be different for many people this year but for us, our teams will be working day in, day out, as usual, rescuing, caring and rehabilitating those animals who need us the most.

Last year, we rescued thousands of animals over the winter months and we fear that due to the pandemic, we could be facing our toughest Christmas yet as we are braced for a rise in abandoned and neglected animals needing our help.

December is a busy time of year for animal rescues

Last winter, we took in more than 7,000 animals and received more than 204,000 calls over the winter period.

Throughout December 2019, we dealt with more than 20,000 incidents and took 2,587 more animals into our care, including:

  • 558 dogs
  • 1,416 cats
  • 149 rabbits
  • 167 wildlife.

Dermot said:

It's been a tough year for everyone, including charities, so now more than ever we need your help to continue our vital work saving animals and giving them a voice.

Our frontline teams are out throughout the winter but they cannot do this alone, which is why we've launched our Join the Christmas Rescue campaign to show how we can all help animals. From our animal rescuers, hospital and centre staff, and our volunteers to every supporter who picks up the phone to call us when an animal is in need, or donates to help us continue our work - every one of us is vital to make sure we can rescue the animals who need us the most.

Donating just £25 could help keep our Animal Rescue Teams on the road and £50 could help feed all the rescued animals in one of our centres for a day.

To help our rescue teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need us, Join the Christmas Rescue #JoinTheRescue.