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North-east call-outs keep Scottish SPCA busy

By Alan Beresford

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NEW data from the Scottish SPCA has shown that the north-east made up around 10 per cent of animal welfare jobs attended in the first six months of 2020.

Scottish SPCA chief executive Kirsteen Campbell. Picture: Peter Devlin
Scottish SPCA chief executive Kirsteen Campbell. Picture: Peter Devlin

The society’s animal rescue officers and inspectors responded to 4075 reports in Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City, from a total of 36,299 across Scotland.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish SPCA reports an eight per cent drop in reports of animals in need nationwide compared to the first six months of 2019. In the first half of 2020 there was 119,564 calls to the charity’s animal helpline – a 10 per cent drop from 133,047 on the previous period in 2019.

Lockdown forced the closure of all nine Scottish SPCA animal rescue and rehoming centres across Scotland, inlcuding the facility at Drumoak, near Aberdeen, which meant animals were arriving at the centres without being rehomed. This put immense pressure on teams and resources.

To relieve this, an emergency foster scheme saw over 260 animals who were ready to be rehomed go out on foster. Over 70 were permanently rehomed by fosterers.

As restrictions eased, the society introduced virtual rehoming to get animals in to loving homes. Despite the closure, the Scottish SPCA has rehomed 1796 animals in the first six months of the year.

This is down by 23 per cent from 2339 in 2019. The SSPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre did not close its doors and continued to take in injured, sick or orphaned wild animals. Admissions in the first half of this year are down 47 per cent from the same period in 2019.

The charity had engaged with 48,798 school children through its free educational programme until it was put on hold in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Cancelled bookings since then meant education officers were unable to meet over 40,000 primary and secondary school pupils.

Free educational resources provided online by the SSPCA to support home-learning have been downloaded over 6000 times by parents, carers and teachers. One thousand printed learning packs were also developed and, with the help of Police Scotland, distributed to children who may struggle to access online tools.

Scottish SPCA chief executive Kirsteen Campbell said: “Our whole team has worked so hard through this unprecedented crisis, and the passion and dedication they have displayed all the way through has been truly inspirational.

“Even during lockdown, we were still averaging a call about an animal in need every 90 seconds, which shows the scale of demand there was for our services.

“As Scotland’s animal champions, we have a duty to continue to do our job under any circumstances to make sure pets, wildlife, farm animals and people get the help they need. Thank you so much to our partners and the public for such great support.”

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