An animal charity responded to more than 16,000 calls across the country during the Christmas period, including rescuing two kittens who were abandoned on a doorstep in Ruislip .
While families were enjoying their festive season in England and Wales, dedicated RSPCA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) officers were called a variety of animal emergencies.
The charity received 16,118 calls between December 18 and 27, and rescued 24,651 animals – including 2,417 that had been abandoned.
Assistant director of the RSPCA inspectorate, Dermot Murphy, said: “The RSPCA's dedicated staff and volunteers work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – everything doesn't grind to a halt for us just because it's Christmas.
“Sadly, there are always animals that need us over the festive period and there are also thousands in our care who need looking after, so it's business as usual for our amazing staff and our wonderful volunteers – true animal heroes."
Just five days before Christmas, on December 20, RSPCA inspector Dale Grant was called to Queens Walk in Ruislip after a man had found two cats in a pet carrier dumped on his doorstep.
The one-year-old cats were taken to RSPCA Middlesex North West branch in Field End Road, Eastcote.
Now officially named Yule and Noel, the cats, one black and one black and white, were not microchipped.
So unless their owners come forward to claim them, the pair will be re-homed in the New Year.
On Christmas Day, inspector Rachel Smith was on duty dealing with emergencies when she was called to help a dear tangled in netting in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire – just one of 827 calls received on December 25.
A woman had spotted the distressed deer with her back legs caught in a football net.
Inspector Smith said: “This poor little doe couldn't keep up with Dancer, Prancer and the rest of Santa's gang as she got tangled in the netting.
“Thankfully, I was able to cut her free and – as she wasn't injured – released her back into the wild where she belongs.”
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