THE RSPCA is bracing itself for its toughest Christmas yet as the charity fears the financial strain from the coronavirus pandemic could mean a rise in pets being abandoned.

The charity is concerned that people may struggle to care for their pets and could see a rise in them being neglected.

Last year, the charity dealt with 806 incidents in East Sussex during the winter period.

Nationally, the charity received more than 950 calls on Christmas Day in 2019, the highest number since 2013 and it received 63,000 calls throughout December, making it the busiest Christmas period for at least four years.

Throughout December 2019 the charity took 2,587 animals into its care, including 558 dogs, 1,416 cats, 149 rabbits, and 167 wild animals.

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And due to Covid-19, the RSPCA are preparing for more pressure to be placed on their rescue teams over the forthcoming festive period.

The charity is asking its supporters to join their Christmas rescue campaign by donating to help it be in a position to help the thousands of animals which need care.

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.”

“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.

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“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.”

Donations will be put towards keeping animal rescue teams on the road and feeding the animals in its care.

For more information visit and use the Twitter hashtag #JoinTheRescue.