RSPCA dealt with more than 12,000 lockdown incidents

The RSPCA has answered almost one million calls since the start of lockdown one year ago, and officers across Yorkshire have dealt with 12,415 incidents, and 3,399 in South Yorkshire.

The charity has had to adapt the way it works to comply with lockdown rules and social distancing but has continued to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals during the pandemic. One year on, the RSPCA is looking back on some of the amazing achievements, despite challenging times.

Chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “The last year has been incredibly difficult for individuals, for families, for businesses, for charities and for animals. But I’m incredibly proud of the work the RSPCA has managed to do during this challenging year.

“We’ve had to adapt how we work, change our procedures, review our practices, and all while we continue our vital everyday work rescuing, rehabilitating, rehoming and releasing animals, and investigating animal cruelty.”

A poorly owl gets help

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Since March 23, 2020, the RSPCA has been busy answering emergency calls, rescuing animals in urgent need, investigating reports of animal cruelty and neglect, taking in abandoned animals, and rehoming rehabilitated animals to new families.

Across England and Wales, the charity received 958,352 calls to the hotline; dealt with 253,714 urgent incidents; and took 23,228 animals into care at our national centres, hospitals and private boarding partners.

An RSPCA officer rescues a gull

The charity’s inspectors and animal rescue officers were designated key workers and continued to respond to emergencies and urgent calls, as well as rescuing animals in need. Across Yorkshire, inspectors and animal rescue officers dealt with: South Yorkshire - 3,399 incidents; North Yorkshire - 2,537 incidents; East Yorkshire - 1,423 incidents; West Yorkshire - 5,056 incidents.

Rescues included: an owl who got stuck in an extractor fan in a disused hotel kitchen; removing a cat from an abandoned house after he got stuck inside on the first day of lockdown; investigating the horrific death of a pony who was bludgeoned to death; and the rescuing of a skinny dog who was found staggering in South Yorkshire on October 6.

The charity’s hospitals continued to provide emergency vet care, the call centre continued to answer calls and staff at its 14 animal centres, four wildlife centres and branches continued to care for the animals in their care.

A tiny kitten is rescued

The society has had to adapt its ways of working in order to adhere with the Government’s ever-changing guidance including changing the way it rehomed. In order to adhere to social distancing and avoid unnecessary travel, the charity has been virtually rehoming and delivering pets to their new homes, with thousands of animals going off to new homes and foster families since March 23.

Chris added: “Over the past 12 months we’ve demonstrated our commitment to animals and shown that, despite the hardships we face, we will always be there for the animals who need us. But the pandemic has hit us hard; we’ve had to change how we work, suspend door-to-door fundraising and cancel fundraising events.

“The charity sector has been hit hard by the pandemic so we’re asking the public to get behind us, to donate, and to help us continue our vital work; together we can make this a better world for animals.”

To donate to the RSPCA visit

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.