Coronavirus: Animal charities still able to offer care but restrict visits
PUBLISHED: 17:42 22 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:43 22 March 2020
Two of the county’s largest animal charities will be limiting services but have reassured supporters that animals in their care are safe during the coronavirus outbreak.
The RSPCA and Dogs Trust are restricting visitors to their centres and ensuring staff follow Public Health England’s hygiene guidelines.
Dogs Trust Snetterton will move to an appointment-only system for potential adopters from 5pm on Friday, March 20 and all centres will be closed to walk-ins. The charity will also run appointments for people who wish to give up their dog.
All non-essential community events and dog school training classes have been suspended.
The RSPCA is the largest animal charity in the country with a team of frontline officers, 17 animals centres, four wildlife centres and four animal hospitals across England and Wales.
Chief executive, Chris Sherwood, said: “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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There are 160 RSPCA rehoming centres and charity shops, the majority run by volunteers. Most are still operating as normal at the moment but people are asked to view websites, social media or call before you visit.
Redwings Horse Sanctuary has more than 300 staff and cares for 1,500 rescued horses and donkeys.
Lynn Cutress, chief executive, said that plans are in place to protect its animals with staff from other centres being brought in if cover is needed.
Its five centres have been closed to the public but the welfare line remains open and officers with continue to investigate where they can.
Ms Cutress added: “We had hoped to be able to keep our centres open on a very restricted basis to provide a free and safe space for families to enjoy fresh air during this difficult time, however the latest announcement to close schools has caused us to reconsider.
“With about a fifth of our staff being parents themselves, including some of our vets, and with animal care workers currently not on the Government’s Key Workers list, the existing pressures on our teams have now intensified.”
All events and activities due to take place at its centres have been cancelled or postponed until further notice.