SOUTHAMPTON residents have proved themselves to be some of the biggest animal lovers in the country.

They have donated more than £3,000 to centres caring for homeless pets during the festive season.

An annual Santa Paws campaign raising awareness of homeless pets, organised by animal charity Support Adoption For Pets and supported by Pets at Home, saw the city’s residents dig deep.

From December 1 to December 24, pet owners were asked to either donate 50p towards a pet’s Christmas dinner or buy an extra toy or treat when at the till of the Southampton Pets at Home store.

As a result they raised a total of £3,490, which will go to St Francis Animal Welfare and Southampton Rabbit Rescue.

The 2013 Santa Paws initiative led to donations of 553,120 pet dinners nationally and raised an additional £291,674 for rehoming centres.

Amy Wilson, charity manager at Support Adoption For Pets, said: “We’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone who came in store and supported the |campaign.”