The RSPCA has launched a Christmas appeal to ask animal lovers to help Stock the Sleigh with vital items to make the festive season happy, healthy and safe for thousands of animals.
Last year during the festive season the charity says it received 2,931 calls in the North East to its 24-hour cruelty hotline with concerns about animals in distress.
A total of 890 calls were for the Tyne and Wear area.
During December, the RSPCA also took in nearly 5,500 animals and gave them a warm bed, food, veterinary care and the care and attention they desperately needed, as well as continuing to look after thousands of animals already in their care.
On Christmas Day last year, RSPCA centres in the North East were caring for more than 250 animals - 126 at RSPCA Felledge in County Durham and 137 at Great Ayton in North Yorkshire, giving them warmth, food and care.
This year, the charity’s inspectors will be out 24/7 rescuing animals from pets to livestock to wildlife in all weathers but for many animals brought to safety it is just the start of a long road to recovery and a new life.
Many animals spend weeks, months, and sometimes years in the organisation's care getting vet treatment, rehabilitation, training, socialisation, food, warmth, and anything else they need to go on to live a happy healthy life.
But RSPCA chiefs say they can only do that with generous support from the public.
It costs more than £750,000 on average to run an animal centre for a year and animal lovers can help provide that by donating and helping the organisation to deliver kindness to animals this Christmas.
A total of £3 can pay for a toy for a pet in the RSPCA's care, while £6 would help feed a dog for a week over Christmas.
People can give gifts of care, safety and comfort to desperate animals this Christmas by stocking the RSPCA’s virtual sleigh at www.rspca.org.uk/stockthesleigh.
Last December, the RSPCA answered more than 43,000 calls, many reporting neglected, abused or suffering animals and investigated more than 10,000 complaints.
RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “We would not be able to help the thousands of animals we rescue, rehome and rehabilitate every Christmas without the public’s generous support.
"What people perhaps don’t realise is that after each animal is brought to warmth and safety, they sometimes face weeks and months of vital care, whether that is someone to hand-rear a kitten through the night, vital surgery for an abused dog, rehabilitation for an injured gull, or simply a warm bed and food for a neglected or abandoned animal.
“This Christmas we are asking people to Stock the Sleigh for the RSPCA, and help us to care for the thousands of animals we know that, sadly, will continue to come through our doors this festive season.”
To donate to the RSPCA’s Stock the Sleigh campaign, visit www.rpsca.org.uk/stockthesleigh