Animal rescue charity warns lack of fundraising could jeopardise future

An animal rescue charity in Cumbria is warning a fundraising black hole could jeopardise its future as national organisations say the country faces an “animal welfare time bomb”.

Social distancing and isolation laws have left many groups struggling to cope, with some of their main sources of revenue cut off overnight. Animal rescue charities are among the worst hit.

Oak Tree Animals’ Charity in Wetheral near Carlisle say they have had to furlough 70% of their staff, and have watched fundraising efforts plummet.

They are asking the public to consider donating to keep them afloat.

Caroline Johnson, is the general manager for Oak Tree Animals’ Charity. She said: “We still have a site to run, and we don’t necessarily qualify for all the [Government] programmes that are available and grant funding, as you can imagine, is quite rightly being directed to those frontline key tasks.

"We still feel we have a big role to play within our community and just hope that people can support us.”

As revenue falls, demand grows. Food banks need more pet food than ever. And they are fielding more and more calls from anxious owners struggling to cope.

Meanwhile national charity The Association of Cats and Dogs Homes (ACDH) are warning of an ‘animal welfare time bomb’, and the RSPCA says nearly 50 per cent of small charities they have spoken to are concerned they’ll be forced to shut.

Dr Samantha Gaines from the RSPCA said: “If lockdown is lifted in the next month or so they may have some time to start fundraising again, but if lockdown continues then they could be really, really seriously affected and we could end up in a situation with charities no longer able to perform that vital animal welfare work.”

Staff at Oak Tree Animals’ Sanctuary have also pleaded with people not to abandon their pets due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Fostering manager Caroline Yon said: "It’s scary times for everybody nobody really knows what the long term prognosis is going to be but there’s no reason to abandon your animals.

"There’s no evidence you can catch coronavirus from them, and also charities like ourselves are still open for those emergency intakes so if your financial situation or health situation has deteriorated to the point where you feel you can’t hope. We’re here, we’re open for business – give us a call."