Animal rescuers at RSPCA fear surge in abandoned pets amid coronavirus crisis

A leading animal rescue charity is appealing for donations as it braces itself for its toughest Christmas yet, fearing that the coronavirus pandemic will spark a rise in abandoned pets.

Help the RSPCA rescue teams continue their vital work in saving animals in need.
Help the RSPCA rescue teams continue their vital work in saving animals in need.

Last Christmas Day, the RSPCA received more than 950 calls, the highest number since 2013 and it received 63,000 calls throughout December, or 2,000 a day, making it the busiest Christmas period for at least four years.

In 2019, the charity dealt with 1,043 incidents in Derbyshire from December to February and 357 in December alone.

Animal welfare chiefs are concerned that the financial strain of the coronovirus crisis this year will mean more people may struggle to care for their pets and could see a rise in them being abandoned or neglected. This will put more pressure on the charity’s rescue teams than ever before.

This year the RSPCA is asking supporters to Join the Christmas Rescue by donating to help teams reach the thousands of animals who desperately need them.

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 three-month period to February.

Dermot said: “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, and our volunteers 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.”

To support the rescue teams reach animals in need, go to