We are braced for a busy festive period after dealing with a bumper number of calls about cruelty over Christmas last year (2012).

Last year staff answered 833 calls about neglect and cruelty on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day – 53 per cent more than the same period in 2011.

Calls to help collect injured and abandoned animals were also up by about a third (32%) from 584 in 2011 to 769 last year.

Chief Inspector Dermot Murphy said:

“We are ready for a busy time. Last year the number of calls about animals which needed our help was significantly higher than the year before. Christmas Eve seems to be the busiest day of the three.


“We get a lot of calls from people concerned that neighbours have left their pets to fend for themselves at home while they visit relatives but last year we also got calls about an escaped snake, a runaway goat, dumped rabbits and a kitten stuck in a car engine.


“While families are enjoying their Christmas dinner our inspectors could be wading across waterlogged fields to check horses and livestock, taking an injured swan to a wildlife hospital or investigating calls about cruelty to pets.


Just because it’s Christmas, our work doesn’t stop.”

Many animals were dumped by their owners

Last year our 24-hour call handling team answered 2,087 calls over the festive three-days passing on information to inspectors as well as giving advice to callers.

Calls last Christmas included:

  • —  A dog being punched and kicked
  • —  A kitten stuck in a car engine
  • —  A stray goat blocking someone’s front door
  • —  A snake escaped from a box into the toilet
  • —  Rabbits dumped in a hutch in a park

Last year 39 animals were taken in after being dumped by their owners. One was a Lhasa Apso dog found soaking wet and cold, chained to a barbed wire fence in Redbourn, Hertfordshire on Christmas Eve.

This Christmas, Lucky the dog will be opening presents with her new owner Ann Hagman.

Mrs Hagman said:

“She’s such a beautiful sweet dog. I don’t know how anyone could have dumped her but their loss is my gain. She might be called Lucky but I’m the lucky one.


“She’s got a teddy for her Christmas present, which she will unwrap. She’s spoilt rotten, she loves to curl up on my lap under her special throw. She’s so special, I wouldn’t be without her.”

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