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Animal Charities come together

26 September 2020
Animal Charities come together

A fundraising appeal has been launched by four West Berkshire animal welfare charities as they brace themselves for a crisis in unwanted and abandoned animals as a result of Covid-19.

‘World Animal Week – West Berkshire’, which will seek to get the public involved in some fun events and takes place from 28 September to 4 October, has been launched by the local Cats Protection, Dogs Trust Newbury, RSPCA Newbury and District and National Animal Welfare Trust Berkshire to raise awareness of the impact of Covid on animal welfare , and a likely surge in unwanted animals:

  • Cats Protection’s Newbury Adoption Centre says that they expect to take in some of the 84,000 extra kittens that will be born across the UK this year owing to vets not being able to neuter during the pandemic(1)
  • Dogs Trust Newbury expects to take in some of the 40,000 dogs that will be relinquished due to behavioural issues(2) like separation anxiety, which could develop as a result of suddenly being left alone when their owners leave them to return to work

Anecdotally, National Animal Welfare Trust Berkshire is seeing a rise in seriously-ill pets being relinquished by cash-strapped owners who cannot afford their care. The local RSPCA has concerns  that they could also be called upon to fund additional  veterinary treatment for affected pets for low income families and those that have hit hard times as a result of the recession.

Liz Goodman, organiser of World Animal Week – West Berkshire says:

“The ongoing pandemic is taking its toll on animal welfare in Berkshire which is why the charities have joined together to launch a unique appeal for funds. 

“Issues amongst our organisations include a drop in donations as a result of having to pause some fundraising activities, a rise in the number of requests for financial help and a prediction there will be an increase in the number of unwanted animals as a knock-on effect of the Covid pandemic.   

“None of the charities receive government funding so we would be very grateful for donations to help us continue our vital animal welfare work in these challenging times.”

The appeal has attracted support from celebrity couple Frankie and David Seaman who live in Berkshire and foster unwanted kittens for Cats Protection.

Frankie said:

“I have been volunteering with Cats Protection for years now, caring for stray or abandoned pregnant cats and orphaned kittens until they’re strong enough to be rehomed by the adoption centres. It’s an often challenging but always rewarding role and David and the whole family like to get involved with socialising the kittens. It’s really disturbing, then, to hear of more unwanted pets in peril owing to the unique circumstances of Covid-19.”

Animals across Berkshire in need of help include:

  • Three unwanted kittens called Midge, Maud and Betty who were extremely thin, lethargic and underweight when brought to Cats Protection in August. Midge also had a ruptured eye which had to be removed. They are currently recovering in the charity’s care
  • Staffie cross Kiki who was brought to Trindledown in June owing to a relationship breakdown. Kiki was found to have a luxating patella and mammary tumour, and during her stay her vet bills alone have exceeded £2,500.
  • Ten-month-old Dachshund Wilson was handed into Dogs Trust Newbury for separation anxiety-related behaviours in July. He has now been happily rehomed.

Liz adds:

“We know pets have brought a great deal of comfort to their owners’ lives during the pandemic so we also wanted to use this week to celebrate the joy animals bring to our lives. We’re working  with local schools, companies and West Berkshire Council to promote two key fun events – a ‘Wear your Whiskers’ day on 30 September and a competition where people can tell us how  their pet has supported them throughout Covid-19.”

To find out more, please visit www.facebook.com/groups/worldanimalweekwestberks and to donate, please click here – all funds will be distributed evenly among the four charities.

If your organisation would like to participate then please contact World Animal Week – West Berkshire organiser, Liz Goodman on liz@rspca-newbury.org.uk