RSPCA staff give up their Christmas day to care for homeless animals

Across the RSPCA this year Christmas dinner will be prepared for at least 8,000 animals with no home to call their own on.

The country’s oldest animal welfare charity, which is about to enter it’s 195th year provides a vital 24-hour service 365 days a year.

Hard-working call centre staff, inspectors and care assistants will be spending their festive season on the frontline of animal welfare, protecting animals across the country.

Last December, the RSPCA received 56,000 calls with the busiest day being December 11 when the charity took 2,64 calls in just one day.

While most of us are tucking into our festive feasts, those phones don’t stop ringing, so workers at the RSPCA’s national control centre will be taking calls from the public reporting cruelty right over the festive season – 24 hours a day.

Last Christmas, the charity took 726 calls on Christmas Day itself, 1,268 calls on Boxing Day and 1,306 calls on New Year’s Eve.

Team Leader, Jo Herman will be one of the team answering phone calls on Christmas Day. She said: “I have been at the national control centre for nearly 8 years and have worked on Christmas Day several times. Animal welfare does not stop just because it is Christmas so we come into work – otherwise who would care for the animals?

“It can be difficult answering calls over Christmas, we get many varied calls from cats up trees to deers being hit by cars and sometimes we have to deal with human suffering too as people are depressed and worried about their animals at a stressful time of year. We do try to make it as much fun as possible by bringing in loads of food and having games.”

RSPCA inspectors and animal collection officers, including Jill Sanders, will be out in their vans ready to respond to calls and to save animals who are most at risk of cruelty, neglect and abandonment.

Animal collection officer, Jill Sanders has volunteered to work every Christmas for the 21 years she has been with the RSPCA.

Jill said: “You never know what you are going to get at Christmas. One year I was called out to a turkey wandering around Camberwell town centre on Christmas Day – he had obviously had a lucky escape. There are usually a lot of emergencies too – animals who have swallowed toys or chocolate.

“It is rewarding working on Christmas Day because people are grateful for your help and you are always invited in for a mince pie – I think I had six one year.”

Animal Care Assistant at RSPCA Millbrook animal centre in Chobham Surrey, Jo Douglas will also be working in the kennels on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Jo Said: “Animals don’t know it’s the festive season and they still need cleaning out, feeding and exercise. Here at Millbrook, we try to make the season fun for all so, although we’ll start here at 8am, I’ll be bringing my daughter along too as we have a family tradition – she’s 19 and has been coming since she was 10.

“She’s been a volunteer dog walker at Millbrook for some time and will start walking the dogs immediately. We are lucky though as my husband and other daughter will be cooking Christmas lunch, leaving us free for the animals.

Some of the animals have had some really hard experiences and the love and comfort they receive at RSPCA Millbrook will be the first they’ve ever known. They get presents – some tasty long-lasting treats, new toys, and a fun run around off the lead.”

The Christmas the charity is asking the public to help it continue to deliver kindness to animals, by supporting its Christmas campaign. To donate you can visit www.rspa.org.uk/giftofkindness.