Holly the Ferret from Stubbington Ark is one of thousands of animals who need care at Christmas

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WITH an increase in the number of calls to the RSPCA cruelty phone line over Christmas, the charity wants your help to care for animals in the region.

Last December, there were more than 61,000 calls coming through to the charity’s cruelty number, up by more than 5,000 the previous year. Of these calls, 4,749 were logged in the South East.

Holly the Ferret at Stubbington Ark (inset) with a dog at Christmas time

Holly the Ferret at Stubbington Ark (inset) with a dog at Christmas time

There were 926 calls to the animal cruelty line in Hampshire and 408 in West Sussex.

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

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This year the charity expects to take in more than 10,000 animals throughout the winter season. 

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.’

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 including Holly the ferret who is currently being looked after at the Stubbington Ark.

Mr Murphy added: ‘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.

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‘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.’

It costs around £670,000 to run an RSPCA centre for a year. 

To donate to vital supplies to thousands of abused, neglected and abandoned animals left out in the cold this Christmas, visit rspca.org.uk/giftofkindness