15th August 2022
We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on the world, but while we all sought to cope with the changes and challenges it created, there were other voiceless victims across the UK struggling to survive this incredibly difficult time.
Since our inception, Animal Friends has always supported charities and conservancies fighting to protect our pets and wildlife, but during the numerous COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, and in the months that have followed, we have received endless requests from charities across the country still struggling because of the pandemic.
While pet sales boomed during the peak of the pandemic, rescue and rehoming charities fought to keep their doors open due to a reduction in donations and the practical challenges that social distancing guidelines presented.
Now, as we all work to get back to our “normal” lives once again, we wanted to hear from some of the amazing volunteers working tirelessly to ensure that animals still receive the care they need.
Amanda Broome, Founder and Trustee of Animal Support Angels, a charity providing support to thousands of animals across the UK, gave us her first-hand experience as she, and a small handful of other volunteers, work through the aftermath of the pandemic.
Rescue centres struggling to cope
“As the aftereffects of COVID continue, rescue centres up and down the country are struggling with the number of animals being surrendered or abandoned. We receive numerous daily calls of family members sadly passing away, being evicted, moving and unable to take pets, or strays who have turned up many sick and injured – it’s relentless. These are only a drop in the ocean compared to the number of animals being rehomed on social media platforms without any home or welfare checks being made before they’re picked up or dropped off.”
Vets costs have trebled
“Rescues are having to close their doors to incoming animals as they do not have space or funds to treat them, since fundraising became increasingly difficult during COVID as we weren’t able to host events or fundraisers due to the lockdown. I think the cost of living increases coming will see a serious rise in animals being abandoned and surrendered into rescue. Rescues are already at crisis point they are full to bursting with long waiting lists, and many of the animals coming in have behaviour problems or are sick and need intensive nursing. Charities are having to apply for grants for support with vet bills; we ourselves have had to do this as we had a vet bill totalling nearly £30,000 last year, nearly treble the bill we had in 2020 at £11,000.
As an example, last month, we collected Biscuit at 11:30 at night as her owner with severe mental health issues thought her cat was dying. We rushed down, collected her cat, and went straight to the emergency vet where she was made comfortable and moved to our vets the next morning. After numerous tests and procedures, it turned out that Biscuit had pneumonia which had been left untreated. With the help of the vets and nursing in foster care, Biscuit is now fully recovered and in her new forever home, but the vet bill alone to help just one cat cost the charity £2,750.
This is just one of the many pets that came into our care, and rescues don’t cherry-pick what comes in; they deal with what they’re given because of their love for animals.“
Food bank help for pet owners
“Here at Animal Support Angels, we are also supporting the local communities. Recently, when visiting a family in Manchester, we attended a local food collection point where families can come and collect weekly but we found there was no provision for pet food. After speaking to a member of the team, we asked if we could help, and they were thrilled! We unloaded boxes of cat food and each person collecting was asked if they had a cat and those that did were given a bag of food.
Our commitment will always be to help those in need when we can, but it’s getting harder with every phone call received. We need more help with funding to enable us to carry on what we are doing, more people to sign up to just £1 a month on direct debit, more people supporting their local rescues (even a box of food can mean a lot), and more people fostering, fundraising, adopting, and giving.
If you’re reading this and you can spare the cost of a coffee, please consider donating it to your local rescue instead. It may not seem like much but this could help provide a flea or worm treatment for a cat or pet in their care.”
Thank you to Amanda for sharing some of the challenges she and her charity are facing.
We know things may only get harder for charities like Animal Support Angels in the coming months as we all face increased prices and energy bill but their tireless commitment to helping animals and owners in need is truly inspiring and we are determined to continue giving back.
If you’re a charity in need of support, you can apply for funding from Animal Friends to help ease at least some of the costs you might be facing following the pandemic.