RSPCA received more than 70 calls an hour over Christmas week

Over the Christmas period, RSPCA staff responded to almost 12,000 calls about more than 7,000 animals in need of help.

While the nation was busy tucking into their Christmas dinners and opening presents, more than 200 RSPCA officers were working across England and Wales to rescue animals in need.

The RSPCA received 11,888 calls over Christmas week (23 – 29 December) – that’s more than 70 calls every hour – with 7119 animals reported to the charity. There were 1,255 cats and 1,790 dogs reported to the RSCPA’s emergency hotline, along with 613 equines and 1,301 wild birds and mammals.

The charity’s vets, vet nurses, animal care assistants and volunteers were busy looking after the thousands of animals in hospitals, animal centres, and wildlife centres across the country.

While inspectors, animal welfare officer and animal collection officers were rescuing animals who had been cruelly abandoned, freeing those who found themselves trapped and in need of a helping hand, or collecting those who needed veterinary treatment or a warm bed for the night.

RSPCA Inspector Susan Haywood was called to the Downs Barn area of Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, early on Boxing Day morning after a number of properties were flooded when a water main burst.

Susan comments: “We were called by a neighbour who was concerned for the welfare of three dogs and two guinea pigs in one of the flooded houses. Their owner was visiting family for the day and the neighbour knew they were home alone.

“I attended with the fire and rescue service and we managed to contact the owner for permission to enter the property. The water was thigh-deep in places, but thankfully, all of the animals were ok. We removed three Staffies and two guinea pigs and took them to boarding until their owner could make the property safe and dry.”

A poorly seal was spotted by concerned members of the public floating in shallow waters on Babbacombe Beach, Torquay in Devon and bashing into rocks.

RSPCA animal collection officer Megan Higgins and animal welfare officer Steve Donohue were called on Christmas Eve to help.

Megan said: “He was in shallow water and was being washed around by the waves and bashed into the rocks. There was clearly something wrong. Steve put his dry suit on and managed to grab hold of him. He was really underweight and had a few cuts and bruises.”

Inspector Charlotte Coggins took the young seal to RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre, in Somerset, where he’s been named Sprouts.

Megan added: “We think he may have been blown into shore by a storm and was very weak and tired. He’d just given up. Thankfully he’s now getting specialist care and will be released back into the wild when he’s strong enough.”

RSPCA animal collection officer Cara Gibbon went to collect a cat with nasty ear wounds and infections on Boxing Day.

Nearby residents were concerned for the stray due to open sores on her ears and Cara went to Devonshire Avenue, Birmingham, in the West Midlands to collect the poorly puss who’s now been named Snowy.

She said: “Local people had been feeding the cat and keeping an eye on her for some time as they were concerned about her. It looks as though she’s suffering from skin cancer on both ears – something that’s surprisingly common, particularly with white cats – so I took her to RSPCA Newbrook Farm Animal Hospital where she’ll have both ears removed.

“She’ll be fine without her ears and will be much more comfortable so once she’s recovered, we’ll try to find her a lovely new home.”