RSPCA: First 12 days of Christmas brought no joy to the nation’s animals

More than 350 animals abandoned so far in December

There have been no gifts from a true love for hundreds of animals in England and Wales so far this Christmas, the RSPCA revealed today (Wednesday).

More than 350* animals have been rescued from abandonment by the RSPCA in the first half of December. At the same time, the “festive season” has seen a shocking series of neglect and cruelty cases.

These include an extremely underweight dog who was found huddled on a urine-soaked bed with severe dog bite injuries and broken bones protruding through his skin, two ferrets dumped outside a hospital, a starving dog abandoned outside a pub and 11 horses and ponies kept in stables inches deep in faeces and mud.

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: “The run up to Christmas has not been a joyful one for these animals. Year on year more pets are being dumped and abused. Out with the old and in with the new may be true for 2012 but must not apply to people’s pets. Sadly this Christmas and New Year is set to be our worst in living memory.”

Since the 2007 credit crunch the RSPCA has experienced a 65 per cent increase in the number of animals abandoned and a 23.5 per cent rise in cruelty convictions.

Gavin added: “We know times are tough but many owners are making real sacrifices to pay for their much-loved pets. At the same time we are seeing a sharp rise in abandoned animals and a shocking number of cases of deliberate, vicious cruelty and neglect. Britain’s abandoned and abused animals have never needed our help more than now. RSPCA inspectors, rescue centres and hospitals will be working round the clock this Christmas to help these animals and to hold their owners to account.”

If you would like to help the RSPCA look after animals in need, please donate to our Christmas fundraising appeal at or call 0800 988 1998.


Notes to editors

* A total of 359 animals in England and Wales have been signed over, seized or rescued by the RSPCA as a result of abandonment between 1 December and 18 December 2012.

Twelve days of Christmas case studies:

For full details of each case study and photos, please contact the press office on 0300 123 0244 or email

1.     Lisa Wellings (43) of Gerlan Road, Bethesda, North Wales, and her friend Alan Frank Williams (65), a retired blacksmith, of Ffordd Caergybi, Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, were banned from keeping equines for 10 years after they kept 11 horses and ponies in stables which were inches deep in faeces and mud.

2.     Lorraine Farrell (46) of The Coppins, Croydon was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison and banned from keeping animals for 15 years after she admitted causing unnecessary suffering to Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog Caesar. He was underweight and had injuries including broken bones which had pierced his skin.

3.     Two ferrets were found abandoned outside Colchester General Hospital in a carrier bag. The RSPCA collected the animals and took them to a vet who discovered the male albino ferret had a dislocated hip.

4.     A severely emaciated dog was abandoned outside a pub in Sussex in freezing conditions. The male Rottweiler was left tied up outside the Crown Hotel in Littlehampton by two women who then ran away. The women were caught on CCTV. The dog, now named Hero, weighed just 22kg.

5.     Konrad Kocjan (30) of Hereford Road, Bedford, was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison and banned from keeping animals for 10 years after he was caught kicking and beating his dog on a mobile phone camera. Kocjan was filmed beating his bull terrier-type dog with a metal lead, a broom handle and then slamming the dog’s head against a wall.

6.     Shane Spearpoint of Burritt Mews, Rochester, was banned from keeping animals for life and jailed for 12 weeks after he admitted not feeding Staffordshire bull terrier Alfie for weeks. Skeletal Alfie weighed just 8kg while a healthy weight for a dog of his size would be about 18kg. A vet had to put Alfie to sleep to end his suffering.

7.     David Hughes (58) and Debra Hughes (54) of Burrs Way, Corringham, Essex, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to their German shepherd Sascha (correct). The dog was suffering from a long-term skin complaint and an ear infection. Mrs Hughes used tea tree oil shampoo and shop-bought flea powder instead of taking her to a vet.

8.     Tiggy the cat’s left front leg was caught in an illegal gin trap near his home in North End, Higham Ferrers. The trap had bruised Tiggy’s leg and it was extremely swollen. The claws on his other paw were broken as he had tried to dig the stake attached to the trap out of the ground.

9.     The RSPCA is helping Frosty the elderly one-eyed cat find his way home after he was found lost on the banks of a river in Braintree, Essex. He has had his left eye removed by an operation and the other is glazed over. Frosty had no microchip or collar and if no one claims him we will be looking for a loving new home for him.

10.   Six six-week old Staffordshire bull terrier puppies were found in a cardboard box in the Broughton area of Wrexham. The male and female puppies were hypothermic and sadly one of them had to be put to sleep to end her suffering. The RSPCA is appealing to anyone who knows anything about the puppies to come forward.

11.   An eight-week-old female tabby kitten narrowly avoided drowning after she was rescued from a six-inch drainpipe in Southern Way, Harlow, by the RSPCA and fire and rescue officers.

12.   A tiny eight-week-old kitten named Angel was found clinging onto life after being dumped with bags of rubbish in Northolt, in west London. It was taken by an inspector to the RSPCA’s Putney Animal Hospital in a critical condition. Angel is being fostered over Christmas while she recovers.


RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288  Fax: 0303 123 0099
Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 08448 222888 and ask for pager number 828825
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Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals registered charity no: 219099 Registered office: RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 9RS