THE RSPCA has launched its Christmas appeal to ensure it can support animals in need after revealing it received over 12,344 reports of animal neglect last winter.

In December alone, the UK’s largest animal welfare charity received 3,916 reports of animal neglect across England and Wales.

The charity received 239 reports of animals being neglected last winter in Somerset – including 70 in December.

Now, 87% of frontline RSPCA officers are concerned cases of animal neglect will rise this winter after an increase in pet ownership and impulse pet purchases during the pandemic.

The figure comes from a survey the charity sent to its frontline rescuers, who work 365 days a year to help animals in need.

The results also show that 84% of the 130 frontline rescuers surveyed are concerned more people are taking on pets without understanding how to care for them.

Around 95% listed the cost of care, including vet bills and grooming costs, as their main reason for concern.

A further 82% believe a loss of interest in a pet is a contributing factor to abandonment, while 84% believe it is a major reason for neglect.

Dermot Murphy, chief inspectorate officer, said: “The RSPCA rescue teams are out 365 days a year in all weathers saving neglected and abandoned animals.

“This year we are concerned that the rise in pet ownership could mean some have taken on pets on impulse which may lead to more people abandoning or neglecting their animals.

“We will be out there every day this Christmas for the animals who need us most, bringing them to safety, but we can’t do it alone. We rely entirely on donations to keep our rescue teams on the road.

He added: “With a cost of £245 a day to keep a frontline rescuer on the road this Christmas, we’re calling on animal lovers to Join the Christmas Rescue to help keep our teams out on the frontline, doing whatever it takes to rescue every animal we can.”

Last year, the charity received one call every minute in December, including 770 on Christmas day, 1,091 on Boxing Day, and 1,691 on New Year’s Eve.

It received one report of an abandoned animal every hour, and 70 rescue animals were taken into RSPCA care every day.

Many of the animals rescued from neglect last year will enjoy a very different Christmas this year.

To Join the Christmas Rescue and help the RSPCA's rescuers be there for the animals in need this winter, visit