Rescue animals in Wales can start being rehomed again for the first time since coronavirus restrictions came into force.
New guidance allows rescue centres and animal welfare organisations, like the RSCPA, to safely find new homes for animals in their care, or foster them out to temporary carers.
It is not permitted to open animal centres in Wales for the public to visit or collect animals due to restrictions on non-essential travel. However, the guidance by the Animal Welfare Network for Wales ensures rescue and rehoming centres can safely transport animals to a new home or temporary foster home while adhering to the Welsh Government’s Covid-19 restrictions.
The guidance also provides organisations with advice on taking animals into their care, providing appropriate care and delivering any necessary veterinary treatments amid the Covid-19 restrictions,
RSPCA Cymru say the guidance is "great news" for the scores of rescue animals currently in their care in Wales. The charity's animal centres at Newport and Bryn-Y-Maen in Upper Colwyn Bay have continued to provide care for 185 animals in recent weeks - despite not being able to rehome these dogs, cats and other domestic animals to the public.
Sharpei crossbreed Cassie, 12, is a veteran dog who has been in the RSPCA's care since November 2019. She is now into her second spell at the centre and staff are desperate to find her a forever home. The animal charity says she loves getting out and about and exploring on long walks.
RSPCA Cymru hopes to utilise the guidance to find homes for countless animals previously rescued from cruelty, abandonment or neglect. However, prospective owners have also been advised to do their research, and ensure they would be able to meet the needs of their new family member once lockdown restrictions are over, and a semblance of normality returns.
Coralie Farren, RSPCA regional operations manager for Wales, said: "RSPCA rescue teams have been on the frontline across Wales throughout the coronavirus crisis, rescuing animals in emergency situations. However, as of yet, we haven't been able to rehome these animals.
"That has now changed due to this hugely important new guidance from the Animal Welfare Network for Wales - which has been backed by the Welsh Government and will allow animal centres to pick up their vital rehoming work.
"Our animal centres will remain closed to the public - but we have developed a number of new protocols meaning we can adhere to social distancing and other Covid-19 restrictions, while delivering rescue pets to perfect new homes. This really is great news for animals amid these toughest times.
The RSPCA is reminding the public that some rehoming centres have limited staff available to take calls and emails so may take longer to respond to enquiries than usual.