Animal rescuers in Derbyshire brace for 'toughest Christmas yet' amid pandemic strain

An animal rescue service in Derbyshire is bracing itself for the toughest Christmas yet with fears financial strain from the coronavirus pandemic may mean a rise in pets being abandoned.

There were 357 incidents in Derbyshire last Christmas, with more expected this year.
There were 357 incidents in Derbyshire last Christmas, with more expected this year.

Last year, the RSPCA dealt with 1,043 incidents in Derbyshire across the winter period and 357 in December alone.

This year, faced with the financial strain of the coronavirus crisis, the charity 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 rescue teams than ever before.

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

This year the RSPCA is asking supporters to ‘Join the Christmas Rescue’ by donating to help rescue teams reach the animals who 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 hundreds 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.

“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, 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 help rescue teams this winter, visit www.rspca.org.uk/xmas and ‘Join the Christmas Rescue’ #JoinTheRescue.