The season of goodwill is the worst time of the year for animals in Bedfordshire.
Figures from the animal welfare charity RSPCA show that last year in the county there were 1,407 calls to its animal cruelty hotline in the winter months (December to February 28).
And 468 of those calls from the county came in December.
The charity is bracing itself to receive thousands calls over the Christmas period and has launched an appeal for money to help cover some of its costs.
RSPCA chief executive, Chris Sherwood, said: “The RSPCA is a charity but we work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to ensure that there is always someone available to help an animal in need.
“This Christmas is no different and we’re expecting thousands of members of public to contact our emergency hotline over the holidays asking for help.
“That’s why we’ve launched our Kindness At Christmas fundraising appeal to help cover some of the costs we’ll face this winter. A donation of just £3.80 help us answer a call for help while £15 helps us keep an inspector on the road for a day.”
The animal charity’s national 24-hour emergency hotline received 55,821 calls from members of the public in December last year (2017) - December 11 was the busiest day with 2,640 calls answered.
The RSPCA remains open over Christmas with call handlers, inspectors, animal centre workers and veterinary staff giving up their family time to help look after the animals and respond to calls for help.
Based on the last three winters, the RSPCA expect more than 10,000 animals to be taken into care this winter.
To support the Kindness at Christmas campaign visit www.rspca.org.uk/giftofkindness.
More information on how to support the Kindness at Christmas campaign is available online: www.rspca.org.uk/winterappeal. Or to donate specific items to the charity’s Stock the Sleigh campaign please visit www.rspca.org.uk/winterappeal/sleigh.