The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes survey has revealed that 95% of its members have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, as UK animal rescue centres have lost up to half of their income during the outbreak.
The Association of Dogs and Cat Homes (ADCH) announced their members were facing “huge staffing and funding pressures”, with nearly half admitting they may not survive the crisis.
Representing 150 member organisations across the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland (England, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales), the ADCH findings revealed that coronavirus posed a huge threat to the sustainability of the dog and cat rescue sector, potentially creating an animal welfare timebomb.
The survey also found that 95% of organisations had seen an impact on their work or ability to operate while over 90% have taken contingency measures to deal with coronavirus.
Some 48% of members do not have funds to ensure they can continue to operate for more than three months, with 18% reporting that they face the risk of imminent closure due to the impact on fundraising.
David Bowles, the charity’s head of public affairs and trustee for ADCH, said: “Everyone is feeling the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and the charity sector, which includes animal charities and rescue centres, is having to step up during this difficult time, despite facing severe pressures.
“Although most of the country is on lockdown, animals still need rescuing, feeding, walking, taking care of – and all of that is extremely expensive. All animal rescues that responded to the survey said fundraising activities have been paused or postponed, but expenditure remains as much of the work continues.”
He added: “This has left many, particularly smaller, charities in the sector at risk of imminent closure with nearly half saying they may not have funds to survive the lockdown.
“We have set up an emergency fund to help our members but we will still face a situation when we emerge from this tough time with much-reduced capacity in the sector with the serious knock-on effect on animal welfare in the future.”
The survey also revealed that 87% of shelters have stopped rehoming animals and 71% have closed their shelters to the public as 54% have stopped taking in animals while 46%, including the RSPCA, are still taking animals in, meaning the numbers of dogs and cats will continue to rise as they continue to be accepted but opportunities to rehome are limited.