ANIMAL charity RSPCA has revealed it dealt with almost 800 incidents in Berkshire alone last winter, as it launches its Christmas campaign to help rescue animals in danger.

The charity is now bracing itself for the toughest Christmas yet, amid fears the financial strain from the coronavirus pandemic could mean a rise in pets being abandoned and neglected.

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Last Christmas Day, the charity received more than 950 calls, the highest number since 2013.

Throughout December, the charity received 63,000 calls nationally, or 2,000 a day, making it the busiest Christmas period for at least four years.

In Berkshire, the RSPCA dealt with 269 cases in December alone.

This year, faced with the financial strain of the Covid-19 crisis, the RSPCA is concerned that more people may struggle to care for their pets and could see a rise in them being abandoned or neglected, putting more pressure on the charity’s rescue teams than ever before.

The charity’s officers are out on the frontline 365 days a year, including Christmas Day.

This year will be no exception, despite the pandemic, with frontline teams saving animals and caring for them at centres and hospitals across England and Wales, as they have been doing throughout the crisis.

Now it is pleading for supporters to join the Christmas Rescue by donating to help teams reach thousands of animals who desperately need them.

Bracknell News:

Dermot Murphy, head of the RSPCA’s animal rescue teams, said: "Christmas may be different for many people this year but for the RSPCA, our teams will be working day in, day out, as usual, rescuing, caring and rehabilitating those animals who need us the most.

"Last year, we rescued thousands of animals over the winter months and we fear that due to the pandemic, we could be facing our toughest Christmas yet as we are braced for a rise in abandoned and neglected animals needing our help."

Last winter, more than 7,000 animals were taken in by the RSPCA and the charity received more than 204,000 calls over the winter period.

Throughout December 2019, the charity dealt with more than 20,000 incidents and took 2,587 more animals into its care, including 558 dogs, 1,416 cats, 149 rabbits, and 167 wildlife.

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Dermot added: "It's been a tough year for everyone, including charities, so now more than ever we need your help to continue our vital work saving animals and giving them a voice.

"Our frontline teams are out throughout the winter but they cannot do this alone, which is why the RSPCA has launched its Join the Christmas Rescue campaign to show how we can all help animals.

"From our animal rescuers, hospital and centre staff, our volunteers and to every supporter who picks up the phone to call us when an animal is in need, or donates to help us continue our work - every one of us is vital to make sure we can rescue the animals who need us the most.

"Donating just £25 could help keep our Animal Rescue Teams on the road and £50 could help feed all the rescued animals in one of our centres for a day."

To help the rescue teams reach the animals who desperately need them, visit the website and Join the Christmas Rescue.