The RSPCA is providing an emergency-only service to animals through the coronavirus crisis in the wake of Government advice.
But the animal charity, which has a team of frontline officers, 17 animals centres, four wildlife centres and four animal hospitals across England and Wales, has reassured animal lovers they will still be dealing with emergency cases.
Chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “Despite most of the country staying at home, there are still animals which need our help and I’m so incredibly thankful for frontline officers helping animals in emergency situations, our hospital workers for providing emergency treatment and our centre staff and volunteers, who are giving love and affection to the hundreds of animals in our care.
“We’ve taken steps to make sure that we are dealing with emergency cases only so we can play our part in stopping the spread of this virus and safeguard our staff and volunteers.
“We rely on the public’s help and we would ask them to only call our helpline in an emergency and visit our website for all other enquiries.”
The RSPCA has a team of frontline officers working around the clock across England and Wales to deal with emergency-only cases. They are wearing protective clothing, regularly handwashing before and after handling animals, avoiding entering premises and asking people to bring animals to the door where appropriate and keeping their vans clean. They are sanitising their hands whenever they leave their vehicles.
Each year the RSPCA answers more than a million calls from the public concerned about animals. The charity has appealed to the public, to call only in an emergency. For everything else, people should please look on the charity’s website.
“Those calling with emergencies, please be patient as, despite contingency planning, we have fewer people available to answer calls.
The RSPCA has 17 nationally-run animal centres, but these are now closed to the public and the charity has ‘paused’ rehoming and fostering and will not resume until it is safe. Staff and volunteers ‘will be focusing on giving love and attention to the hundreds of animals in our care”, a spokesman said.
Our four hospital teams in London, Birmingham and Manchester are still working to help emergency cases of sick and injured animals, prioritising our animals rescued by frontline staff, but also providing services to our clients on an appointment only basis.
Our four wildlife centre teams are still working around the clock to help rehabilitate and release sick and injured wild animals. Our centres are not open to the public. If you find a sick or injured wild animal please contact our emergency line – 0300 1234 999. If you’ve found a baby animal which appears to be orphaned there’s also advice on our website.
There are more than 150 RSPCA branches, registered charities in their own right, which run clinics, rehoming centres and charity shops. The centres and shops have now closed to the public.
Chris Sherwood said: “We know these are really worrying times for everyone and I hope hearing that we are still helping animals is a little piece of good news.
“We know many people will be financially worse off as a result of this crisis but if anyone is in a position to make a donation to help our services continue we would really appreciate it.”