Date Published: 5 January 2011

UK Animal Charity RSPCA had extremely busy end to 2010

Animal News from the UK

RSPCA centres (in the UK) are looking after more pets and wildlife than ever before after a hectic festive season.

Christmas, coupled with the cold weather, saw the charity's services throughout England and Wales in high demand with its national call centre dealing with thousands of enquiries every day.

On Christmas Eve, a call was answered every minute from a member of the public concerned about the welfare of an animal. Even on Christmas Day when people were tucking into their turkeys, a telephone call was taken every two minutes.

Hundreds of injured wildlife have had extended stays at the centres as the cold weather delayed their release and the festive season sadly brought with it hundreds of dumped pets.
Between 23rd and 27th December, RSPCA inspectors investigated 329 complaints about abandoned animals, which is nearly three an hour around the clock.

Throughout December, 2112 calls about abandoned animals were investigated. This is an increase on last year's figure which stood at 1,923 and that for 2008 which was 1,535.
Inspector Tony Woodley said:

After all these years of trying to encourage people to not abandon their pets, it's so disheartening to see that it's still happening in its droves.
These animals are simply cast aside with little thought for their health and wellbeing. There's no excuse for such callous and heartless behaviour

It was not a happy Christmas for three-month-old Eve the German Shepherd cross puppy who was found in a box down an alleyway in Sheffield on Christmas morning and taken to the local branch. A littler of six Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppies were brought to RSPCA Mallydams Wood in Sussex on the day before Christmas Eve. They are around six weeks old and should not have left their mother. They should be ready for rehoming in a few weeks. A seven week old kitten was found wandering in the snow on December 16 in Great Ayton village, near Middlesbrough. A member of the public brought the short- haired tabby to the RSPCA where staff are currently looking after the kitten they have called "Ivy".

RSPCA wildlife centres have taken unusually high numbers of animals over the festive season which cannot be re-released yet due to the continuing cold weather.

Stapeley Grange Wildlife Centre in Cheshire has had the busiest winter since it opened 16 years ago. By the end of December, it had around 90 hedgehogs, 21 buzzards, 21 common buzzards and 100 swans in its care ? 20 of which were admitted after an oil spill in the Liverpool docks.
Wildlife Supervisor Andrew Smith said: ?This was our busiest December on record with nearly twice the usual number of admissions.

The weather was the biggest influence. Large numbers of wild animals were admitted due to the snow and ice making it harder for them to feed and animals which would otherwise have been ready for release are staying longer because of the harsh conditions.?

More than 300 animals have been admitted to West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Somerset during the winter spell so far including 33 swans, 22 buzzards and 66 hedgehogs ? around 80% of which are this year's young who have not built enough weight up to hibernate.

A whopping 225 hedgehogs and 92 swans are currently living at the East Winch Wildlife Centre in Norfolk.

Centre secretary Ann Smith said:

We're stuffed out with 412 animals here at the moment which is unheard of at this time of year. We've never had this many hedgehogs in before.?

The RSPCA is a charity and relies solely on donations from the public to keep running.
If you would like to help, log onto
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Source: RSPCA, Press Release.

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