RSPCA will still be here for animals during second nationwide lockdown

RSPCA rescuers in England will continue to respond to emergencies and help animals in need during the second lockdown, which began this week (Thursday 5 November).

The charity’s frontline officers will continue responding to emergency calls and rescuing animals in urgent need despite the new restrictions.

RSPCA Chief Executive Chris Sherwood said: “These are extremely difficult times, but we’re committed to helping animals and, while the new lockdown means that we will have to adapt again and operate in a different way, we will continue to be here for the animals who need us most.

“Unfortunately, animal cruelty doesn’t stop for Covid-19, but we have responsibility to follow the government’s rules and work as best we can to stop the spread of the virus.”

Since the start of lockdown, the RSPCA’s control centre has received 716,466 calls and frontline officers have dealt with 175,221 urgent incidents.

The new lockdown rules will impact on rehoming across the charity’s regional animal centres and its many branches, which will be closed to the public.

The charity plans to continue rehoming animals using remote, virtual means where possible with staff delivering animals to their new homes to prevent any unnecessary travel for members of the public.

Some branches may take the decision to close and temporarily pause rehoming during the lockdown if they are unable to deliver animals, so the charity advises you to check with your local centre or branch for their situation during this period.

RSPCA hospitals will also continue to operate in London, Birmingham and Manchester, but will be offering emergency and urgent treatments by appointment only. The charity’s shops – operated by RSPCA branches across England – will, unfortunately, have to close temporarily.

Chris added: “We introduced new Covid-secure rehoming policies and procedures during the last lockdown and found them to be very effective. In as many cases as possible, we will seek to rehome animals virtually by organising video call meet and greets, conducting rehoming applications and assessments over the phone, and delivering pets to their new homes via a network of our frontline staff who are designated key workers by the Government in England and Wales.

“Please bear with us as we work under these new restrictions and do the best we can to rescue animals who need us, take care of those in our care, and seek to match all pets available for homing with the perfect families.”

The charity’s frontline officers, vets, and animal care staff are all designated as key workers meaning they can continue to work outside their homes in order to rescue, treat and take care of the almost 7,000** animals in the RSPCA’s care.

For dog walkers, there will be no limits on the distance people can walk during this exercise (if showing no symptoms of Coronavirus and not considered vulnerable). Livestock and horse owners are allowed to tend to their animals but are being asked to limit their movement outside the home or farm.

What people can do if they’re struggling to care for their pets:

  • Ask friends and family for help;
  • Contact a vet about payment plans, discounts or vouchers for neutering or any other treatment needed;
  • Get in touch with local rehoming charities for advice;
  • Visit the RSPCA website for welfare advice.

To report an animal welfare emergency or animal cruelty you can contact the RSPCA emergency hotline on 0300 1234 999 for advice.  If you’d like to offer an RSPCA animal a home you can follow the process outlined on their Find A Pet webpages