DOZENS of animals were abandoned in Dorset in December 2018.

In total, RSPCA officials helped 37 creatures this time last year.

The animal welfare charity is now urging people to help them care for animals spending the month in its centres and hospitals with its 'stock the sleigh' campaign.

Anyone who wants to help provide food, medicine, a warm blanket, treats or toys is urged to get in touch.

Dermot Murphy, chief inspectorate officer at the RSPCA, said: “Cruelty and abandonment do not stop over the festive season and our staff work tirelessly to rescue and care for animals in need.

"We understand that people’s circumstances can change which may mean they can no longer cope with their pet, but there is never an excuse to abandon any animal like this, as there are other options available to people who are struggling to care for their pets.

"Dumping a pet leaves the animal extremely scared and vulnerable, especially in the cold winter months."

For more information, or to help, visit