The RSPCA has launched its festive appeal Stock the Sleigh to help needy animals this winter as it reveals last Christmas Day was its busiest for five years.

On 25 December 2018, the charity received 934 calls to its cruelty line – the highest number for five years and almost a third more than in 2017.

This year, the RSPCA is asking people to Stock the Sleigh for the RSPCA to help all the animals the charity cares for over the Christmas period.

Last December, there were more than 61,000 calls coming through to the charity’s cruelty line, up by more than 5,000 the previous year. Of these calls, 2,289 were logged in Wales.

Whilst most people tuck into their Christmas dinners, the charity’s inspectors will be working 24 hours a day rescuing animals from pets to wildlife and bringing them to safety.

Some animals can spend weeks, months and sometimes years in our care receiving the treatment and rehabilitation they need.

Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer, said: “Our cruelty line received more than 900 calls on Christmas Day last year and our rescue officers are always out working through the festive period to help animals in need.

“Hospital staff will be working to provide veterinary care for injured and sick animals and our animal centre staff will be making sure the hundreds of pets and wild animals in our care over Christmas are well looked after.

“Rescue work doesn’t stop just because it’s Christmas. We know that animals need our help all-year round and our officers are out in all weathers helping save pets from abuse and neglect, and rescuing wildlife who may be injured or in need of assistance. We are expecting to take in more than 10,000 animals this winter which means the officers, vets and animal care staff are braced for another busy festive period.

“We can’t do this on our own – we rely on our generous supporters to help the many animals who come into our care this Christmas in urgent need whether it is for veterinary care, medicine, food or a safe, comfortable and warm bed. We are asking animal lovers to Stock the Sleigh for the RSPCA and help us to care for these animals in desperate need this winter.”

There were more than 5,000 animals taken in over the Christmas period last year, including more than 2,100 cats and more than 1,000 dogs, as well as hundreds of wildlife.

It costs around £670,000 to run an RSPCA centre for a year. You can make a generous donation to Stock the Sleigh and help animals in our care:

£7 could keep an animal warm with a soft and cosy blanket
£15 could give the gift of comfort – a warm blanket, treats and toys
£25 could give the gift of safety – it could help answer a phone call, provide a safe bed and food
£40 could give the gift of care – providing essential veterinary care and medicines

This winter, the RSPCA expects to take in more than 10,000 animals in need. To help us deliver vital supplies to thousands of abused, neglected and abandoned animals left out in the cold this Christmas, visit www.rspca.org.uk/giftofkindness and watch your virtual gift fill up our sleigh with a grateful wag from Sprout the dog. Sprout, Tink and the other festive characters feature in the RSPCA’s Christmas sweatshirts: www.rspca.org.uk/christmasmerch