RSPCA Emergency Appeal to care for hundreds of horses and rescue more

The RSPCA has launched an emergency appeal supported by comedian Ricky Gervais to keep its rescue teams out on the frontline saving animals through the Coronavirus crisis.

Animal rescuers at the charity have been designated key workers by the Government but vital funding is needed to keep them out on the road, continuing to rescue animals from the worst cruelty and neglect.

The RSPCA is currently caring for 842 horses and the number is expected to grow as even more come into their care in the coming weeks as its rescue teams bring in more equines in need.

Staff at six centres are focusing on keeping the horses and ponies in their care happy and healthy throughout the crisis as rehoming and fostering has been paused in line with Government advice.

Almost 80% of the horses in the RSPCA’s care (almost 650) are in private boarding stables across England and Wales as there is not enough room in rehoming centres and the charity will be paying for their care throughout the crisis.

Alongside this, the charity is also facing a huge financial strain as it is already seeing the damaging effect of this crisis on its fundraising income, while the costs of saving, treating and caring for animals continue.

Animal lover Ricky said: “It is really important for us all to pull together to help each other at this difficult time and someone needs to be there for animals too. I would urge people to give whatever they can spare at this really difficult time to support the RSPCA so they can stay out on the frontline rescuing the animals who need them most.

“They are facing huge challenges through this crisis, but their amazing staff are committed to being there for animals in danger in any way they can and they can only do it with your help.”

RSPCA Inspectorate staff are providing an emergency-only service throughout the lockdown period.

Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer, said: “This is a time of national crisis, and many of us are anxious about the future and our loved ones. This crisis has touched all areas of life and the RSPCA is no different. As we all face the biggest challenge of a generation, the RSPCA must continue to be on the frontline, rescuing and caring for the animals who need us most.

“Our rescuers, vets and nurses have been designated key workers by the Government which means we can carry on saving animals from cruelty and neglect but we rely entirely on generous public donations to fund our vital services.

“We are facing immense challenges and huge pressures on strained resources, but our hugely dedicated teams are out there dealing with emergencies and our centres continue to deliver vital care to thousands of animals, with more expected in the coming weeks.

“We know that this is a difficult time for everyone but we must still be here for animals who are suffering and we are appealing for animal lovers to give whatever they can to help us.”

Since the crisis deepened at the beginning of March, our animal cruelty line has already received nearly 60,000 calls.

These include:

  • Rescuers spent 5 hours saving Harris (pictured), a black colt stuck in freezing water in marshland in Gravesend, Kent on 15th March. The young horse had a huge open wound across his right shoulder, where it appeared he had been impaled on something sharp. RSPCA rescuer Grace Harris-Bridge worked with a vet, police, the fire service and other charity workers to bring the scared and flighty horse out of the mud and into a horsebox. He was taken to a vet for urgent treatment for his wound and is now recovering in RSPCA care in private boarding.

  • Animal care officer Julie Parson feeding a herd of Shetland ponies near Brighton after their owner was taken ill at the start of the year. Julie has been caring for the ponies in her own time to help make sure they are socialised and able to be rehomed once lockdown is over.

To help the RSPCA keep rescuing animals like these and keep our animal hospitals and centres running for emergency treatment and round the clock care through these unprecedented times, please donate whatever you can spare at www.rspca.org.uk/covid

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