The RSPCA has announced it will now be providing an emergency-only service to animals in the wake of government advice concerning coronavirus.
The group’s frontline officers, 17 animal centres, four wildlife centres and four animal hospitals will continue to deal with emergency cases while the nation is under lockdown.
Frontline officers will wear protective clothing, regularly wash hands before and after handling animals, avoid entering premises and ask people to bring animals to the door where appropriate.
Meanwhile, its animal centres are now closed to the public, and rehoming and fostering services have been “paused”.
Its hospital teams will work on emergency cases of sick and injured animals, prioritising animals rescued by frontline staff. It will also provide services to clients on an appointment-only basis.
All centres and charity shops have been closed to the public until further notice.
The RSPCA chief executive, Chris Sherwood, said: “Despite most of the country staying at home, there are still animals which need our help and I’m so incredibly thankful for frontline officers helping animals in emergency situations, our hospital workers for providing emergency treatment and our centre staff and volunteers who are giving love and affection to the hundreds of animals in our care.
“We’ve taken steps to make sure that we are dealing with emergency cases only so we can play our part in stopping the spread of this virus and safeguard our staff and volunteers.”
He added: “We know these are really worrying times for everyone and I hope hearing that we are still helping animals is a little piece of good news.
“We know many people will be financially worse off as a result of this crisis but if anyone is in a position to make a donation to help our services continue we would really appreciate it.”