RSPCA deal with more than 25,000 lockdown incidents in Milton Keynes region

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The animal rescue service has taken almost one million calls since the start of lockdown, with more than 25,000 call-outs across South East.

In total the charity has dealt with 25,757 incidents across the South East, 1,428 of those came in Buckinghamshire.

One incident in Buckinghamshire saw service workers discover nine dead puppies dumped on a verge in Bucks just before Christmas.

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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.

The RSPCA received almost 1 million calls during the pandemicThe RSPCA received almost 1 million calls during the pandemic
The RSPCA received almost 1 million calls during the pandemic

“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.”

RSPCA 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.

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 remained operational.

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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 23 March.

The RSPCA campaigned for the Agriculture Bill which received Royal Assent in November 2020 meaning farmers will receive payments for higher welfare standards, and statutory footing of the Trade and Agriculture Commission, ensuring independent animal welfare advice is central to future trade policies.

Other campaigns included pressuring the government into a ban on the private keeping of primates and compulsory microchipping of cats. After years of lobbying, the UK and Welsh governments proposed ending live animal exports for slaughter, the use of wild animals in circuses was banned in Wales, and a ban on third-party sales of puppies and kittens came into force in England in April 2020.

The charity has also seen big changes to fundraising. With the London Marathon cancelled and the RSPCA’s annual One Fun Day shelved, the charity’s events team decided to host a virtual event with animal-themed online sessions and the world's’ first ever live Zoom pet show. The team is now planning another home pet show on 19 June 2021. More information on the event can be found here.

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Chris added: "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.”