Animal charities in Hertfordshire persevere through coronavirus crisis
PUBLISHED: 15:53 26 March 2020 | UPDATED: 15:53 26 March 2020
Charities have addressed concerns over the safety and care of animals in Hertfordshire during the coronavirus crisis.
The RSPCA has reassured animal lovers that it is continuing to rescue and rehome animals despite the coronavirus outbreak.
The animal charity which has a team of frontline officers and 17 animals centres - including Southridge Animal Centre in Hertfordshire – has put contingency plans in place to cope with the weeks and months ahead.
There are also some 160 RSPCA branches including in Hertfordshire: RSPCA Hertfordshire East and RSPCA Middlesex North West and South Hertfordshire
which are registered charities in their own right.
The branches are part of the RSPCA family running vital clinics, rehoming centres and charity shops.
A majority of this work is carried out by volunteers, though as of March 23 they are all closed to the public due to the new restrictions.
The RSPCA are now not acceptting animals from the public and are looking after existing animals in their care – though new animals will be brought in via their animal rescue teams.
Chief executive, Chris Sherwood, said: “Thanks to our amazing, dedicated and professional team of staff and volunteers, the RSPCA is still rescuing and rehoming animals in these difficult times.
“We are having to change the way we work, but please be assured we are doing everything we can to make sure that we get help to the animals most in need.
“There is a great deal of anxiety, worry and concern at the moment. Being around animals can bring great pleasure, companionship and mental health benefits, so we hope people will draw comfort from spending time with their pets and watching wildlife to help them through the weeks and months ahead.”
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Animals in need in Hertfordshire are also set to benefit from a £700,000 national donation from Pets at Home and its charity, Support Adoption For Pets.
The grant will be split between rescue centres and animal charities across the UK falling into financial hardship and struggling to cope as a result of COVID-19.
An emergency fund totalling £400,000 pledged by Support Adoption For Pets, the UK’s largest grant giving charity to animal welfare, will be going to local pet rescues which it has identified as being very much in need across the UK.
Pets at Home will be donating a further £300,000 – as part of its VIP Lifelines scheme – to over 750 animal charities across the UK, including those based in Hertfordshire.
Each charity within the scheme will receive an additional £400 on top of what their supporting VIP members have already raised for them, to be spent in-store on essential food products to help feed the animals in their care during this extremely difficult time.
Support Adoption For Pets charity manager, Amy Angus, said: “We know how much animals in Hertfordshire are being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and we want to provide every bit of support we can.
“Rescues and charities in Hertfordshire are falling under hard times, and now more than ever need our help.
“In the past few days alone we’ve been inundated with reports of rescues closing, stopping re-homing and taking pets in, volunteers self-isolating and struggling to fundraise at this critical time, and it’s vital we offer support now more than ever.”
Many rescue centres have fallen into financial distress due to the cancellation of fundraising events, the closure of public and retail spaces, the impact of reduced footfall and staffing and reduced donations from the wider public, as supporters are forced to review their own finances.
Pets at Home Group CEO Peter Pritchard added: “Times are extremely difficult and it is our duty and social responsibility to help where we can.
“We are trying to navigate these uncertain and changing times, and our priority continues to be the wellbeing of our colleagues, customers and of course, our nation’s pets.”
There are more than 130 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Hertfordshire, but the current advice from the British Veterinary Association is that there’s no evidence that pets can be a source of infection or become sick from COVID-19.
To find out more visit: supportadoptionforpets.co.uk/
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