Ducky the terrier abandoned wearing a snowman jumper (Image: RSPCA)
The animal welfare charity says it witnessed a massive surge in emergency calls between Christmas and the New Year, with abandoned pets and wildlife getting into difficulty seeing its frontline officers working round the clock. In all, the charity’s emergency line received 15,723 calls over the holiday period – a 36 per cent rise on last year – and saw 750 animals helped by its team of inspectors and collection officers. Among the tragic cases was a female terrier suffering from a horrific skin condition discovered shaking and terrified in a back garden.
Worried neighbours alerted the RSPCA when they heard anguished barking coming from the property in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, but they knew the people were away for the holiday season and also do not have a dog.
When Inspector Lucy Hoehne arrived, she found the dog, aged around eight years, shaking and terrified and wearing a festive jumper over her bald body.
Inspector Hoehne said: “This poor dog... Her whole back end and legs are totally bald. She isn’t microchipped although her weight appears to be healthy so I can only think she must have been dumped.
"It’s likely she had been at the property some hours and it was an extremely cold night. Being New Year’s Eve there were fireworks being let off. She must have been so terrified.
“She had a jumper on which has a distinctive snowman pattern so I can only hope someone recognises it and comes forward with information so we can try to work out where she has come from.”
Ducky the dog named after cartoon dinosaur because of her rough skin (Image: RSPCA)
The snowman jumper used to dress dog dumped in cold (Image: RSPCA)
Because of her tough skin, the dog has been nicknamed Ducky after the dinosaur in Land Before Time. She has been undergoing skin biopsies to diagnose her condition.
Sadly, another dog found abandoned in a cardboard box and unable to use his back legs has had to be destroyed. The tiny five-week old merle-coated crossbreed was left in a Bradford alleyway on Christmas Day – most likely because the breeders did not want to pay the veterinary fees.
Inspector Davie Holgate collected the puppy who was too young to be separated from his mother.
He said: “Unfortunately, he was in a terrible state. He was collapsed at the rear and was dragging his back legs. It seems as though his back end was paralysed and he was unable to use his legs.
“Goodness knows how long the poor pup had been in this state. He may have been born like this or could have deteriorated as he grew.
Paralysed puppy abandoned in cardboard had to be put to sleep (Image: RSPCA)
Puppy was too young to be separated from mother (Image: RSPCA)
"I suspect he was abandoned by the breeder when they realised he would need expensive veterinary treatment or would fail to sell.
“To abandon this poor puppy, who was too young to be away from his mother and siblings, is disgraceful, and to do so on Christmas Day with him in dire need of veterinary attention is despicable.”
Vets assessed the dog and decided to put him to sleep on welfare grounds because he was suffering and unlikely to recover.
Three 11 week old puppies found abandoned in a forest over the festive holidays have been named Packham, Twiggy and Harry (Kane) after three well known recipients of New Year’s honours.
The RSPCA is investigating how the animals were dumped near Mitcheldean in the Forest of Dean on December 30. Luckily, they were found by a member of the public.
Puppies named after Chris Packham, Twiggy and Harry Kane rescued from forest (Image: RSPCA)
RSPCA inspector Suzi Smith, who is investigating the case, said: “We’re hoping somebody will recognise the puppies, and help us find out how they came to be abandoned.”
Anyone with information about any of these cases is urged to call the RSPCA’s confidential appeals line on 0300 123 8018.
RSPCA Assistant Director of the Inspectorate Dermot Murphy commented on the hectic festive period for the charity: “While many of us were tucking into festive feasts or opening our presents, our inspectors were out day and night helping the animals that so desperately need us.
“These figures show that cruelty and neglect sadly do not stop during the festive season, but thanks to our supporters we can be there to give a bit of kindness to animals in need at Christmas.”