The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) has announced a new “raft” of measures in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
From today (18 March), its nine animal rescue and rehoming centres will be closed to the public, unless a pre-arranged appointment has been scheduled.
It will temporarily stop accepting used blankets or towels as donations, and educational visits to schools and centres will be put on hold. It is instead developing a “suite of materials” which parents can use if they are home-schooling children.
The society said it has been monitoring the spread of the virus “for some time”, and has already taken steps to ensure all centres are well stocked in terms of specialised food and veterinary supplies.
Chief executive, Kirsteen Campbell, said: “ As the coronavirus spreads, we have a duty of care to the public, our staff and the animals we help to ensure we can continue to do our job without putting anyone at risk.
“These precautionary measures are designed to make sure our dedicated animal welfare experts can still be in centres to look after animals and our committed inspectors and animal rescue officers can still be on-hand to rescue animals.”
She added: “We are doing the right thing by cancelling school bookings, but we don’t want children to go without the opportunity to learn about animal welfare in the weeks ahead.
“I would say to anyone who has concerns about the impact of coronavirus on how they can care for their pet – give our animal helpline a call. We will give you all the advice and support we can.”