December 22, 2020

RSPCA rehomes hundreds of pets in York in 2020

By haziqbinarif

THE RSPCA York Animal Home has overcome major challenges to successfully rehome hundreds of animals in 2020 – thanks to its “amazing” team and “fantastic” supporters.

The centre, on Landing Lane, off Water End, continued to take in injured and unwanted animals throughout both lockdowns.

It is run by the RSPCA York, Harrogate and District Branch – an independent charity responsible for its own income and fundraising.

In March, the branch announced that in just a week it had seen 90 per cent of its income disappear as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown of the UK.

The animal home, which costs around £60,000 a month to operate, and the branch’s charity shops were closed to the public, while front line animal staff carried on working in the home to look after its residents and animals brought in by RSPCA inspectors. The home remains closed to the public, but is still rehoming animals with new virtual processes.

An emergency appeal was launched by the branch to try and secure some of the funding it needs to run. Its Just Giving page said at the time that if the lockdown continued for longer than a month the home would be at “very real risk of having to close down.”

Peter Gorbert, branch manager, said: “Sadly, our branch was facing significant financial challenges before the coronavirus pandemic and over the last few years we have been reviewing the way the home operates to reduce our annual deficit and run as efficiently as possible. We’re also trying to get better at showing people what we do, asking for support and showing the difference that support makes.

“We have some of the most fantastic supporters and their generosity has really helped us make it through the lockdowns.”

He said, like many charities, the last year has been challenging for the branch and its animal home.

For the home to continue taking in injured and unwanted animals, the branch had to adapt most of its systems and its new website meant it had the technology needed to manage the rehoming process virtually.

“It was a challenge at first but it’s enabled us to find each animal their perfect match in a much more organised way,” Peter said.

“Most of the animals in our care, particularly dogs, have been rescued by our RSPCA inspectors from neglect and cruelty and their work has been impacted by the pandemic. As they have been responding to emergencies only, we’ve seen fewer dogs being brought into the home but it has meant we have been able to help other kinds of animals that we wouldn’t ordinarily care for.

“Despite all of this, we have been able to rehome hundreds of animals this year and will continue to do so in the future.”

Peter said he is “incredibly proud” of the team at the animal home for their hard work.

He commented: “We have an amazing team at RSPCA York Animal Home and they have worked so incredibly hard during all of this.

“We have been incredibly fortunate that the animal home hasn’t yet experienced an outbreak of Covid-19. We put social distancing rules in place very early on and have worked extremely hard to make sure staff and adopters were kept safe at all times.

“Sadly, we haven’t been able to allow our wonderful volunteer team to operate through most of the lockdowns, but they have helped out in other ways like virtual home visits and running online fundraising events.”

He said the charity knows 2021 is going to be challenging but is hopeful things can return to normal soon.

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