This could be the consequence if such charities do not get emergency government support to cover a shortfall in vital income lost during the forced temporary closure during lockdown.
The NAWT is one of around 1,200 rehoming and rescue organisations in the UK forced to temporarily close centres and shops during lockdown.
NAWT CEO Clare Williams: “We’ve been hoping the government would support us like it has with zoos and aquariums, but so far nothing has been announced.
“Like other charities, we rely on raising money from visitors, year-round events and our charity shops, all of which have had to stop during lockdown, meaning a massive drop in income.”
The charity has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other members of the Cabinet to ask them to allocate funds to the Coronavirus Emergency Appeal managed by the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes (ADCH). This fund is available to all 1,200 pet rescue and rehoming organisations in the UK.
Like many rescue charities, NAWT provides vital services to local communities by finding homes for unwanted and neglected animals. A number of local authorities also rely on them to help manage local stray populations of cats and dogs.
What charities like NAWT fear is that there will be a spike in unwanted animals once lockdown restrictions are fully lifted as people’s circumstances at home and at work change.
Clare adds: “We know that the demand for pets has been particularly high. Our centres have been quieter during lockdown but we are fully expecting demand for our services to go up, clashing just at a time when the real impact of the lack of funding will hit.
“It could be a dire situation for the animals because if there are no places for them in rescue, then the responsibility falls to the local authorities. Many of them are already cash-strapped after having to deal with the COVID-crisis. I dread to think what this will mean for unwanted pets in the future.”
NAWT is asking animal lovers to join in its #RescueAnimalRescue campaign by writing a letter to their local MP urging them to raise the matter with the Chancellor. People can get involved by visiting: https://www.nawt.org.uk/rescue-animal-rescue-contact-your-mp.