ANIMAL charity the RSPCA is braced to take 2,000 calls a day during the festive season, as it launches its Kindness at Christmas appeal to help care for abused, neglected and sick animals.

During last December and January, 12,721 incidents were reported in the north west including 334 across Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Nationwide, 118,799 calls were received in total – 1.3 every minute across the two month period.

Calls ranged from poorly or unwanted pets dumped in the streets to deliberate cruel treatment, and RSPCA inspectors expect to take in around 19,000 animals over the festive period.

RSPCA superintendent Simon Osborne said: “It’s a sad fact that every day at work throughout the year can be tough for our inspectors and animal welfare and collection officers, but winter really does come with its own challenges and issues.

“In fact, we expect to take in somewhere in the region of 19,000 animals this winter alone.

“During the festive season alone last year, we rescued over 25,000 animals, many of whom had been cruelly abandoned, injured or abused.

“But we also saw so many acts of kindness by animal lovers, from the passer-by who rescued a shivering and sick puppy days before Christmas, to those who reported suffering animals to our cruelty hotline or volunteers caring for animals in our centres and branches.

“We are asking animal lovers across the country to show kindness this Christmas by supporting our winter appeal.”