An animal rescue charity is reminding people a pet is for life and not just for Christmas as it approaches its busiest time of the year.
Caring staff at Rotherham-based Rain Rescue say there is a notable surge in neglect and cruelty cases each year during the festive period.
Already the rescue centre is full to capacity, meaning until some cats and dogs currently in its care are rehomed it cannot help any more animals in need.
“This is always the worst time of the year for us,” said Lauren Sanderson, a fundraiser for Rain Rescue. “We are receiving calls every day asking us to take in cats and dogs, but we are full.
“I know the dog wardens are struggling too, which will result in more dogs in the pounds being put to sleep.
“Pre-Christmas people feel the financial strain, particularly with winter heating bills to pay for, which leads to more abandoned animals.
“In January we will see a rise in neglect too as people give pets as presents for Christmas but don’t realise the responsibility involved in caring for them.”
Ralf the terrier was a five-month-old pup when he was taken in by the charity last Christmas Eve after he was found on the streets with a broken leg.
A vet discovered the dog’s injured leg was completely shattered as a result of being kicked and had to amputate the limb.
A Rain Rescue foster carer adopted the terrier, but the charity expects to see more dogs arriving over the coming weeks.
Rain Rescue has launched a ‘Buy A Dog A Dinner’ campaign, where people can fund Christmas food by donating just £2.
n Donations can be sent to Rain Rescue, 90 Flanderwell Lane, Sunnyside, Rotherham. S66 3EQ. Alternatively, visit justgiving.com/xmasdinnerapeal, or text ‘DINN55’ followed by £1, £2, £5 or £10, depending on the amount you wish to give, to 70070.