The RSPCA said it is bracing for its “toughest Christmas yet”, amid fears that the fallout and financial struggles brought by the pandemic will lead to more pets being abandoned or neglected this winter.
In light of this, the charity has launched a new Christmas campaign entitled ‘Join the Christmas Rescue’, asking supporters to donate to help its rescue teams reach thousands of animals this Christmas period.
Last winter, the charity took in more than 7,000 animals and received more than 204,000 calls over the winter period. Throughout December 2019, it dealt with more than 20,000 incidents and took 2,587 more animals into its care, including 558 dogs and 1,416 cats.
Last Christmas Day, it received more than 950 calls, the highest number since 2013, and more than 3,500 animals were in its care on the day.
Looking ahead, it is “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”.
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.”
He added: “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.”