MORE than 8,600 incidents were reported to the RSPCA over the Christmas period, the charity has said.
The animal welfare charity received 8,642 incident reports in its south west area, which includes Portsmouth, between December 2016 and January.
And 276 of those happened across Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
In the same period the charity received 118,799 calls nationwide – 1,916 calls a day.
Now inspectors are warning they expect to taken in around 19,000 animals this period.
RSPCA superintendent Simon Osborne said: ‘It’s a sad fact that every day at work throughout the year can be tough for our inspectors and animal welfare and collection officers, but winter really does come with its own challenges and issues.
‘In fact, we expect to take in somewhere in the region of 19,000 animals this winter alone.
‘During the festive season alone last year, we rescued over 25,000 animals, many of whom had been cruelly abandoned, injured or abused.
‘But we also saw so many acts of kindness by animal lovers, from the passer-by who rescued a shivering and sick puppy days before Christmas, to those who reported suffering animals to our cruelty hotline or volunteers caring for animals in our centres and branches.
‘We are asking animal lovers across the country to show kindness this Christmas by supporting our winter appeal.’
For more information about the charity appeal, see rspca.org.uk/winterappeal