CALLS to rescue abused and neglected animals in Berkshire soared during the festive Christmas period, figures reveal.

In December 25 the RSPCA received 4,749 calls, the highest number for five years and almost a third more than in 2017.

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The charity has launched its festive 'Stock the Sleigh' appeal to help the thousands of animals which are abused, neglected and abandoned at Christmas.

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.

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In Berkshire alone, the RSPCA logged 424 incidents of abused animals.

Neighbouring county Buckinghamshire, received fewer calls with 399 cases of neglected wildlife and pets.

In December 2018, there were more than 61,000 calls coming through to the charity's cruelty line, up b more than 5,000 the previous year.

Of these calls, nearly 5,000 were logged on the system.

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.

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

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Dermot added: “Rescue work doesn’t stop just because it’s Christmas.

“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.”

Residents can donate to the appeal to help animals in need.

Visit: to donate.