Cats Protection and Dogs Trust welcome Lords debate on effect of Covid-19 on charities

Two of the UK’s biggest animal charities have joined force to welcome a House of Lords debate recognising the challenges faced by rehoming organisations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cats Protection and Dogs Trust say that together with other animal charities, they are facing significant fundraising and operational difficulties as a result of the crisis.

The issues were raised during a House of Lords debate on 30 April by Lord Black of Brentwood. He told the debate: “This virus is making us all appreciate what is really important to us. One thing that unites many of us is our love of our pets, which are especially important for many lonely and vulnerable people. The main point I want to make is that our pets, along with the animal charities that care for them, have been impacted by the onslaught of Covid-19 and need support.”

Cats Protection and Dogs Trust highlighted a number of challenges facing animal rehoming charities including:

  • A significant drop in the number of pets being rehomed, with most rehoming centres currently closed to the public.
  • Limited access to routine veterinary services such as neutering, which may lead to a large influx of unwanted kittens and puppies over the coming months.
  • A sharp drop in income sources, with all fundraising events and challenges either cancelled or postponed, and charity shops closed.
  • Absence of respite pet care available for households affected by Covid-19, which may include key workers of hospitalised owners.
  • A potential increase in the number of relinquished or abandoned cats and dogs as owners struggle to afford and care for their pet.

Cats Protection’s Chief Executive James Yeates said: “As the leading cat welfare charity we are acutely aware of the challenges facing he UK’s millions of cat owners during this time. Whilst it is a challenging time both financially and operationally for our rehoming, neutering and education work we are still working in many ways, and new ways, to help cats in need and their owners.

“We have a wealth of information available online for worried cat owners as well as our national helpline. We have also started to rehome cats ‘hands free’, introducing a cat to their forever home through the power of the internet. This will not only find loving homes for cats in need but free up space to enable us to take cats into our care.”

Dogs Trust Chief Executive Owen Sharp said: “Like all charities, the animal welfare sector is feeling the pressure of the coronavirus crisis. We are no exception, as we have suspended many of our fundraising activities for the greater public good at a time when demand for our frontline services to protect animals look only set to increase, so we are grateful for Lord Black for raising this in Parliament.

“While it is positive government has promised to support the sector, not all charities are eligible for funding, so we urge ministers to explore further ways to support animal welfare charities to overcome this stark challenge.”

For more information about how Cats Protection is reacting to the Covid-19 pandemic, please visit www.cats.org.uk/help-and-advice/coronavirus.