Preston's RSPCA animal shelter is 'on the brink' because of pandemic

Pets now face an uncertain future as Preston's RSPCA Branch, that re-homes animals in desperate need across Lancashire, appeal for donations to help fund their work, as the pandemic throws a blow to the charity's funding.

By James Holt
Tuesday, 7th July 2020, 12:49 pm

The financial impact and pressure of Covid-19 has hit charities like the RSPCA and accelerated the crisis, meaning that urgent action needs to be taken to save their animals from an uncertain future and continue funding their vital work.

The news comes after the national RSPCA announced they will be making up to 300 roles redundant, meaning the Preston & District Branch need the support of the borough more than ever.

Mark Allen, Branch Manager of the Rehoming centre, on Longridge Road, said: "We need support now more than ever due to the coronavirus pandemic. We have received no help from the Government and need to raise 100 percent of our funds ourselves.

Manager Mark Allen is appealing for urgent funding to save the branch.

"Please give as much as you can by donating to the centre via cheque, cash or our JustGiving page."

Claire Russell, Shops Coordinator said that the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak has massively impacted the local charity who were already "struggling under normal circumstances".

"Our message is to let the community know that all our funding is independent. We have to run the animal centres and have staffing costs, rent the shops and continue caring for and rehoming the animals."

"Throughout the lockdown we have been functioning off nothing and it is sending us to rock bottom. Everything we do has to stay at the same standards, we love our jobs and what we do and we have worked so hard as a team to get our branch to where it is.

Dogs may be re homed to different centres if the Preston branch closes.

"It's a massive part of the Preston and the community and covers such a big area, we need people to know that we are on the brink."

The RSPCA Preston & District is a self funding, separately registered branch of the RSPCA, raising funds locally to run their animal centre and to help our fluffy friends in need in the Preston area.

They are a critical part of the RSPCA, supporting inspectors, delivering animal welfare and representing the national society in the community.

Animals in their care may now be struck with an uncertain future with the shortage in funding and and potentially risk losing their home and being moved to another shelter.

Dogs at the branch may be re homed if the vital funding isn't raised.

However Mark Allen, manager of the Preston Animal Shelter was keen to point out that the RSPCA will never put a healthy animal to sleep - but that it is down to other centres to re-home them.

"We couldn’t do all we do without the help of our fantastic supporters who we now turn to to address the significant financial challenges the branch is facing currently. We must bring our spending inline with our income if we are to continue to help animals most in need," said Claire.

"Preston animal centre has continued to take in and care for animals in need during the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 crisis. Animals are currently still being adopted to new homes.

As the crisis intensifies, the RSPCA and Preston Branch resources are being stretched to their limit and are appealing for urgent need help, as the number of animals in their care is set to rise.

Staff have continued to provide care to abandoned and stray animals throughout the pandemic.

Claire commented: "We have definitely seen an increase in animals coming in and we feel that in the longer term, we will see an increase in neglect cases where they haven't wanted to let them go in lockdown. This will inevitably put more pressure on us as a charity."

With their shops closed since March lockdown was introduced, it may be several more weeks before the charity can reopen their Longridge and Penwortham shops.

And the closures have had a massive impact on the branch, as it is their main source of regular income to support the running of their animal centre, which costs about £20,000 per month.

According to their website, their mission is to provide safe and happy homes to abandoned, neglected or abused animals, to nurse them back to health, rehabilitate them, and find them a forever home.

"Our job is never easy, as the volumes of unwanted animal’s just keeps getting higher. We pride ourselves on delivering rehabilitation and rehoming services to protect animals that are most in need of our help," said Claire.

"We want to make sure we can be sustainable for the future and to continue helping hundreds of animals each year. We are very proud of the compassionate and committed work we all do collectively as a team and we hope you understand why we have to make this plea publicly."

Without government funding, the RSPCA branch needs to raise 100 percent of its funds independently.

Money can be donated through a one-off payment via cash or cheque made payable to RSPCA Preston & District Branch or via their Justgiving page.

Dogs, cats and other small animals face an uncertain future.