Coronavirus statement from Blue Cross Chief Executive, Chris Burghes
As coronavirus cases in the UK increase again and some areas return to lockdown, I would like to reassure you that our teams continue to work tirelessly to make sure that sick, injured and abandoned pets are given the best possible care and attention.?
I am delighted that most of our animal hospitals and rehoming centres, and all our shops are now open. However, like everyone else, we’re having to maintain social distancing as we follow latest government guidelines.
To make sure that you have the latest information on how to access our services, here is an update on different areas of our work which I hope you find helpful:
Veterinary animal hospitals
Earlier in the year, our animal hospitals had to prioritise emergency cases because of government restrictions. This led to routine treatment being delayed for some pets. Now that all our animal hospitals are open, routine procedures, like vaccinations, have started being given to pets most at risk. We’re also trialling extended working hours at weekends to help reduce the backlog since the first lockdown, whilst still doing as many remote consultations as possible.?
We’re also bracing ourselves as we expect to see demand for our veterinary services rise over the next few months as many more pet owners find themselves facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic and become eligible for our services.
Our Rehoming teams have found new ways to rehome pets while meeting government guidelines, including meeting pets online. This has worked particularly well for cats. If, like me, you have a cat at home, you’ll know that they can be wary of new people. Remote meetings have allowed our Animal Welfare Assistants to see them behave naturally, rather than hiding behind the sofa.?
Our fantastic foster carers have also allowed us to continue to take in and rehome pets, as guidelines made it difficult to do this in our rehoming centres. At one point, 60 per cent of pets in our care were being looked after by foster carers. Thanks to everyone involved, we’ve been able to rehome over 3,000 pets so far this year.?
As with our animal hospitals, we are expecting to see a rise in the number of pets needing new homes or support with behavioural needs due to the numbers of households introducing pets into their lives during lockdown and a reduction in neutering in the last six months – again, as a direct result of Covid-19.
All our charity shops are open, although the opening hours of some shops may have changed. Contact your nearest shop for specific opening times. And, as it is now compulsory to wear a mask when entering shops, please make sure that you have one with you unless you’re exempt. We’ll also have hand sanitiser available?when you enter.
We are always grateful for donations but, as these must be quarantined for 48 hours, our shops have specific donation days. Please check when our shops are accepting donations by using our?contact details.
Since lockdown, we have delivered hundreds of free, online talks to schools and youth groups on looking after pets. If you know of a school who would be interested in booking a talk, please share our education webpages.
If you’re a parent, you can download engaging indoor activities for children and use?our online learning resources.?
Coronavirus and your pet
At the start of the pandemic, we created new coronavirus pet advice. Since then, we’ve continued to update it throughout the pandemic to reflect new government guidance. Read our advice on coronavirus and your pet.
We’re on TV!
Millions of people have also been enjoying taking a ‘behind the scenes’ peak at our Grimsby and London Victoria animal hospitals in Inside Animal A&E, filmed before lockdown. Every Monday at 8.00pm, we’ve been able to see the dedication of our staff and volunteers, as well as the love of owners for their pets. If you’ve missed it, catch up on the ITV Hub.
Thank you so much for continuing to support Blue Cross during this time.
Blue Cross Chief Executive