CASH donated by kind-hearted pet owners to an annual appeal will provide homeless animals with more than 16,000 meals.

In total customers donated £8,322 to a fundraiser call Santa Paws which is run by the Support Adoption for Pets charity.

The charity is run by Pets At Home and the impressive amount of cash was handed over by customers who visited its Braintree store over the festive period.

It's enough money to provide more than 16,300 dinners for the RSPCA Danaher Animal Home, in Wethersfield.

Danaher manager Deborah Satchell said: "We would like to say a massive thank you to the people of Braintree and surrounding areas.

"The campaign could not have run so successfully without their support and the support of Adoption for Pets, who not only raise money but also provide food donations in conjunction with Pets at Home in Braintree.

"The 16,000 meals will be very gratefully received by our residents and thank you again from everyone here."

Customers shopping at the store at Braintree Retail Park were asked if they would like to donate 50p at the tills.

It began on November 23 and ran until Christmas Eve with bosses hoping to raise enough cash to provide three million dinners across the country.

Fundraising boss Amy Wilson said: "This year we set an ambitious target to help raise enough money to feed more homeless pets than ever before.

"When we found out that we had reached this goal we were amazed and grateful to everyone who joined us on our mission to help make this the most special Christmas for pets in rescue centres across the UK.

"We would like to thank everybody who made a donation in Braintree.

"Your help has brought a wagging tail and a happy Christmas to the lives of pets who need it most."

Support Adoption For Pets was established by Pets at Home in 2006 and runs dedicated adoption centres in the company's stores.