We'll still be here for animals during second lockdown

We'll still be here for animals during second lockdown

Our rescuers in England will continue to respond to emergencies and help animals in need during the second lockdown, which begins today.

Our frontline officers - designated key workers by the Government - will continue responding to emergency calls and rescuing animals in urgent need despite the new restrictions.

Our 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 a responsibility to follow the Government's rules and work as best we can to stop the spread of the virus.

New lockdown rules

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

RSPCA staff helping an animal in need

The new lockdown rules will impact on rehoming across our regional animal centres and many branches, which will be closed to the public. We plan 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're unable to deliver animals, so please check with your local centre or branch for their situation during this period. If you'd like to offer one of our animals a home please follow the process outlined on our rehoming pages and please be patient as we try to respond to applications using our amended processes.

Our hospitals will also continue to operate in London, Birmingham and Manchester, but will be offering emergency and urgent treatments by appointment only. Our charity shops 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 rehoming with the perfect families.

Our 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 our care.

Volunteers will still be involved in essential roles like field ops and inspectors, and others who can volunteer from home in support roles will continue. Our education team will continue providing support to school groups as well as adult support groups.

Pet owner restrictions in the second lockdown

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.

We encourage horse and livestock owners to think about buddying up with others to share responsibilities. Please always practice social distancing and follow good hygiene practices such as hand washing.

If you need to visit the vet, please call the practice first to discuss whether they need to see your pet in person. Pet shops will also remain open during lockdown.

Many owners are concerned about caring for their pets amid the Coronavirus outbreak, so we're providing lots of advice and help for pet owners. We're also urging pet owners to complete an emergency pet carer form and display it in their home in case of hospitalisation.

Getting help to look after your pets

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
  • look at our pet welfare advice.