Submitted by Steve on 13:28, 18th Apr, 2020 | 0

The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes survey found 95% of members have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic UK animal rescue centres have lost up to half of their income during the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey reveals.

The Association of Dogs and Cat Homes (ADCH) revealed 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.

All of the country’s largest animal welfare organisations including RSPCA are members. 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. 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.”

To assess the impact of coronavirus on the rescue sector, ADCH conducted a survey of all its members between 7 and 10 April, receiving responses from 99 members (65%). It 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.

The survey found that a worrying 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. All respondents said that the Covid-19 lockdown has had a negative impact on fundraising with 57% reporting a drop in income of more than 50% while 60% have been forced to close their shops and all have cancelled fundraising events.

The survey also found:

● 87% have stopped rehoming animals and 71% have closed their shelters to the public;

● 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;

● members employ over 6,200 full time and 2,100 part time staff;

● more than 60% of members have reduced staffing levels with a majority of staff being furloughed under the Governments’ schemes and 85% of rescues have seen a reduction in volunteers;

● 65% have reported more people wish to foster dogs or cats and 35% wish to rehome a dog or cat.

In 2019, ADCH members took in a total of more than 72,000 dogs and more than 90,000 cats. While many of the rescues have ceased rehoming due to the lockdown, we’re currently speaking to Defra about re-starting some rehoming and fostering in the coming weeks.

Despite seeing falling donations and increased pressure on reduced staff, centres are still taking in thousands of animals needing help. The survey found 16% of rescues reporting more cats being abandoned during the current lockdown. The impact on dogs seems to be more limited.

David added: “We’re concerned that this increase in cats needing help could be just the first signs of an impending crisis. Organisations who work hard to take in injured stray cats and run neutering programmes are unable to operate and a rise in the cat population is highly likely.”

Holly Hedge, an ADCH member based in Somerset, has taken in two dogs whose owner had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Hannah Goodwin-Sharman from Holly Hedge said “Whilst his children had been helping to take care of the dogs, when he had to move he could not take Dougie and Daisy with him and with kennels closed we were pleased to take them. They are now doing well in the care of fosterers.”

To support the ADCH’s coronavirus appeal please go to the ADCH donate page  

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager and ADCH Trustee said “These are extremely challenging times for all us all and talking to many animal charities we are all worried about the animals needing our help, the communities we support and raising the funds to carry out our vital welfare work.”

“We launched our own #GSPCACoronavirusCrisisAppeal to help the animals here in Guernsey which you can donate by calling 01481 257261, by post or online via .”

“We cannot thank everyone that has donated so far it has been truly incredible and we have already raised in excess of £30,000, thank you so so much.”

“The ADCH coronavirus appeal is designed to help animal charities in need across the UK and Ireland as like us with events cancelled, charity shops closed and boarding animals almost non-existent our main fund raising avenues have almost completely ceased.”

“However the work we carry out and with tens of thousands of animals cared for by ADCH members and other animal charities across the UK and Ireland never have we needed support more than we do now.”

“Every day at the GSPCA we are helping stray, sick, injured, unwanted and cruelly treated animals.”

“This week alone we have helped stray cows, dogs, cats, tortoise, rabbits and rescued many baby birds, investigated welfare calls of possible animal neglect and been at the end of the phone for advice.”

“We have animals in need of homes and with the restrictions all adoption and foster forms are on our website and we would ask those looking for a pet not to come to the Shelter at this time as this is not classed as an essential journey but please do phone or email us on [email protected] .”

“In 2017 we were lucky enough to host an ADCH meeting here in Guernsey which was incredible but with the social distance restrictions we now have to meet online, host webinars and use technology to share best practice and knowledge.”

“Every day is a challenge but the GSPCA and all ADCH members are striving to do their very best and with support we can ensure we come through this crisis together stronger for dogs, cats, all animals and our local communities.”

Other information ADCH represents 150 cat and dog rescues across the UK and Ireland including the GSPCA and large rescues such as Battersea, Blue Cross, Cats Protection, Dogs Trust, RSPCA but over a fifth of ADCH members are run by volunteers only

To see the story of the ADCH meeting in Guernsey please visit

To see the GSPCA online adoption process please visit

In line with States of Guernsey advice please DO NOT visit the GSPCA if you are over 65, have an underlying health condition or have any symptoms of Coronavirus and only visit us if your visit is essential but before doing so please call us on 01481 257261 or email [email protected] before your trip to the GSPCA to see if we can help without you coming to the Shelter. For the latest information and advice please visit

With huge challenges on our resources and a drop in income from boarding and donations please help us help animals in Guernsey with our #GuernseyCoronavirusCrisisAppeal by donating online via -

During these difficult times help us help animals in need. From donating to Sponsoring a Pen, Buying a Brick for the much needed Wildlife Hospital to our Amazon and main page Wish List, holding a mufti day to a sponsored Christmas dip, here are some of the ways you could help give animals joy.

For lots more ideas on how you can support the shelter and the animals in our care then please visit our fundraising page

To see a list of our volunteer induction evenings which we hold each month and for more information please visit or call 257261

To find out more on trips, talks and our education work please email [email protected] or call 01481 257261


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