RSPCA respond to thousands of incidents during lockdown

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and country-wide lockdowns, the RSPCA still received almost one million calls

Despite the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and country-wide lockdowns, the RSPCA still received almost one million calls in just one year. - Credit: RSPCA

Despite country-wide lockdowns amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the region’s RSPCA have still had to deal with thousands of incidents.  

The animal rescue charity has answered almost one million calls since the start of lockdown one year ago, dealing with 6,481 incidents in the East of England alone. 

RSPCA Virtual rehoming meetings.

Virtual rehoming meetings. - Credit: RSPCA

From kitten rescues, to saving two pigeons from a building’s outer netting, the RSPCA key workers have dealt with 1,973 incidents in Cambridgeshire.  

Chris Sherwood, chief executive, said: “The last year has been incredibly difficult for individuals, for families, for businesses, for charities and for animals.  

“But I’m incredibly proud of the work the RSPCA has managed to do during this challenging year. 

Centre closures due to Covid-19 lockdown. 

Centre closures due to Covid-19 lockdown. - Credit: RSPCA


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“We’ve had to adapt how we work, change our procedures, review our practices, and all while we continue our vital everyday work rescuing, rehabilitating, rehoming and releasing animals, and investigating animal cruelty.” 

Since March 23 2020, the RSPCA has been busy answering emergency calls, rescuing animals in urgent need, investigating reports of animal cruelty and neglect, taking in abandoned animals, and rehoming rehabilitated animals to new families.  

Cat rescue

Cat rescue. - Credit: RSPCA

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Across England and Wales, the charity received 958,352 calls to the hotline; dealt with 253,714 urgent incidents; and took 23,228 animals into care at our national centres, hospitals and private boarding partners. 

The charity’s inspectors and animal rescue officers were designated key workers and continued to respond to emergencies and urgent calls, as well as rescuing animals in need. 

RSPCA Care assistant working with dogs.

Care assistant working with dogs. - Credit: RSPCA

Rescues included saving a grass snake that was trapped in a sewage pipe in Suffolk in June 2020. 

Admitting more than a dozen common seal pups, during June and July 2020, having been rescued from across Norfolk and Suffolk.  

Rescuing and fostering a tiny kitten who was found stuck on a glue trap in Norfolk in August 2020. 

Care assistant working across the county.

Care assistant working across the county. - Credit: RSPCA

Rescuing two pigeons who became trapped in netting outside flats in Cambridgeshire in February 2021. 

The charity’s hospitals continued to provide emergency vet care, the call centre continued to answer calls and staff at its 14 animal centres, four wildlife centres and branches continued to care for the animals in their care. 

RSPCA Fledgling checked by vet nurse

Fledgling checked by vet nurse. - Credit: RSPCA

The society has had to adapt its ways of working in order to adhere with the Government’s ever-changing guidance including changing the way it rehomed.  

In order to adhere to social distancing and avoid unnecessary travel, the charity has been virtually rehoming and delivering pets to their new homes, with thousands of animals going off to new homes and foster families since March 23. 

Pony receives dental and groom

Pony receives dental and groom. - Credit: RSPCA

The RSPCA celebrated a number of victories during lockdown including the Agriculture Bill which received Royal Assent in November 2020 meaning farmers will receive payments for higher welfare standards, and statutory footing of the Trade and Agriculture Commission, ensuring independent animal welfare advice is central to future trade policies.  

The RSPCA’s campaigns and public affairs teams also celebrated the Government’s commitments to implement a ban on the private keeping of primates and compulsory microchipping of cats.  

Ponies being rescued by the RSPCA. 

Ponies being rescued by the RSPCA. - Credit: RSPCA

After years of lobbying, the UK and Welsh governments proposed ending live animal exports for slaughter, the use of wild animals in circuses was banned in Wales, and a ban on third-party sales of puppies and kittens came into force in England in April 2020. 

The charity has also seen big changes to fundraising. With the London Marathon cancelled and the RSPCA’s annual One Fun Day shelved, the charity’s events team decided to host a virtual event with animal-themed online sessions and the worlds’ first ever live Zoom pet show.  

The team is now planning another home pet show on June 19 2021. 

Owl being checked over by the RSPCA.

Owl being checked over by vets. - Credit: RSPCA

Mr Sherwood added: “Over the past 12 months we’ve demonstrated our commitment to animals and shown that, despite the hardships we face, we will always be there for the animals who need us.  

“But the pandemic has hit us hard; we’ve had to change how we work, suspend door-to-door fundraising and cancel fundraising events. 

RSPCA Gull rescue

Gull rescue. - Credit: RSPCA

“The charity sector has been hit hard by the pandemic so we’re asking the public to get behind us, to donate, and to help us continue our vital work; together we can make this a better world for animals.” 

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