Coronavirus and the impact on rescue centres

Times are indeed both worrying and trying for all of us and nothing has escaped the consequences of this massive public health concern.  Just yesterday, one of the largest re-homing charities in the UK announced it will be closing its doors to walk-in visitors as of Friday 20th March.  Current adoptions will go ahead, but timescales may be different and staff are asking people to be patient in these very difficult times.

Welfare workers face the same risks as anyone when it comes to potentially picking up, or passing on coronavirus and if staffing levels drop severely, who will look after the animals?

While the Dogs Trust are still telling people to call if they need to re-home their dog, some shelters like the RSPCA adoption centre in Coventry, have also closed their doors to new arrivals of dogs and cats, amid concern over COVID-19 and the expectation that adoptions are likely to significantly fall.

Today, several re-homing centres in Devon have taken a similar approach and have asked people not to come into their centres, but to call and make an appointment instead.  Many more in the county have also stopped taking in new cases, but urge the public not abandon dogs at the gate and all dogs needing homes can be put on a waiting list.

All community events and training classes run by charities such as Dogs Trust have been suspended and some charity shops will have limited opening hours.

Hope Rescue, a large re-homing centre in Wales has similarly had to close their doors to people needing to surrender their pet and have said that this has been a difficult, but measured decision in order to ensure their long term sustainability.

These are worrying times and given the number of dogs being surrendered or abandoned every day in the UK under normal circumstances there is grave concern that many of these animals may be abandoned on the streets or worse.  After China’s lockdown a month ago there was a surge in abandoned pets over fears of contamination and an unwillingness or inability to care for them under imposed restrictions.

We can only hope and pray that the situation can be overcome for all of us; and for those of us who are passionate dog lovers that this does not impact on the welfare of the animals in our communities.

It should be stressed that animals CAN NOT contract COVID-19 and neither can they pass it to humans. This is NOT the reason for animal rescue shelters closing their doors. Please do not abandon your pet over concerns of contamination. For more information on this please read our recent Holidays4Dogs article on the subject.  You can also read our other articles about how to care for your pets while self isolating. 

COVID-19 Advice for self-isolating pet owners provided by PSA

Can dogs catch coronavirus from humans and vice versa?