In a statement released on the charity’s website, Battersea revealed it has temporarily closed its gates.
The statement read: “This is not a situation we ever thought we would face. However, in such a challenging time, we need to prioritise the welfare of our staff and ensure we are able to care for the dogs and cats already at our centres.
“Be assured, however, that we will still take in emergency cases and our team will be providing as much advice and support as we possibly can to anyone seeking our help.”
CEO Claire Horton added: “I would like to thank our supporters and each and every person who has so kindly offered support, donated much-needed and welcome funds, asked how you can help, or provided a home for one of our animals. Battersea simply could not exist without you.
“If you would like to help us further, it would be hugely appreciated if you would consider donating some money that will directly help us continue caring for our dogs and cats inside our centres and help Battersea continue to help animals outside our gates and in wider communities, as we forge on through this heartbreaking national crisis.”
She added: “Our teams are here for animals in need, as we have been throughout two world wars and many other testing moments in history. Together, we can continue to make a difference for dogs and cats everywhere.”
The news follows after the government released guidelines for the lockdown taking place in the UK, resulting in Pet shops being allowed to open under the restrictions introduced by the Government yesterday (23 March) for the sale of “essential items only”.
According to guidance on gov.uk, these are the shops that can remain open: supermarkets and other food shops, health shops, pharmacies including non-dispensing pharmacies and pet shops amongst corner shops, newsagents, post offices and banks.