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Scottish SPCA called to nearly 7,000 jobs across north and north-east in past six months

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An animal welfare charity has been called out across the north and north-east nearly 7,000 times in the last six months.

The Scottish SPCA’s animal rescue officers and inspectors responded to 2,142 incidents in the Highlands, 1,820 in Aberdeenshire, 1,457 in Aberdeen and 798 in Moray during that time.

From a total of 36,299 across Scotland, there were also 469 calls from Argyll and Bute, 140 from Shetland and 121 from Orkney.

Due to the pandemic, the charity reported an 8% drop in reports of animals in need nationwide compared to the first six months of 2019.

Lockdown forced the closure of all nine animal rescue and rehoming centres across the country, which meant animals were arriving at the centres without being rehomed.

This put immense pressure on teams and resources.

To relieve this, an emergency foster scheme resulted in 260 animals who were ready to be rehomed being looked after by volunteers.

More than 70 were permanently rehomed by fosterers. As restrictions eased, virtual rehoming was introduced to get animals into their new families.

Despite the closure, the Scottish SPCA has rehomed 1,796 animals in the first six months of the year, down only by 23% from 2,339 in 2019.

In Aberdeenshire, 153 animals were rehomed while that figure stood at 92 in the Caithness and Sutherland and 139 elsewhere in the Highlands and islands.

Scottish SPCA chief executive, Kirsteen Campbell, said: “Our whole team has worked so hard through this unprecedented crisis, and the passion and dedication they have displayed all the way through has been truly inspirational.

“Even during lockdown, we were still averaging a call about an animal in need every 90 seconds, which shows the scale of demand there was for our services.

“As Scotland’s animal champions, we have a duty to continue to do our job under any circumstances to make sure pets, wildlife, farm animals and people get the help they need.”

The National Wildlife Rescue Centre did not close its doors and continued to take in injured, sick or orphaned wild animals.

Admissions in the first half of this year are down 47% from the same period in 2019.
About 3,300 animals arrived at the centre in Clackmannanshire compared to 5,139 in the previous year.

The centre has been especially busy since lockdown eased in May, with almost 1,000 animals on-site at a given time.

The Scottish SPCA had engaged with 48,798 school children through its free educational programme until it was put on hold in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Cancelled bookings since then meant education officers were unable to meet more than 40,000 primary and secondary school pupils.

Organisers provided free educational resources online to support home-learning, and these have been downloaded about 6,000 times by parents, carers and teachers.

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