Scotland’s neglected and abandoned animals could be facing a longer wait for a new home following a public drop-in ban at Scottish SPCA centres.
A raft of measures announced by the national animal welfare organisation to protect its ongoing work will include an appointments-only set-up for people looking to rehome a pet.
The move will affect the organisation’s Angus, Fife and Tayside rescue and rehoming centre at Petterden, close to the A90 between Dundee and Forfar.
The society has also said it will temporarily stop accepting used blankets or towels as donations.
Animal foods and veterinary supplies have been built up by officials monitoring the development of the outbreak and officials have stressed the importance of the bond pet owners have with their animals in helping see them through the coronavirus crisis.
The Scottish SPCA operates nine centres across the country and cared for more than 20,000 animals in 2019, attending over 220 incidents per day.
Scottish SPCA chief executive Kirsteen Campbell said: “As the coronavirus spreads, we have a duty of care to the public, our staff and the animals we help to ensure we can continue to do our job without putting anyone at risk.”
“These precautionary measures are designed to make sure our dedicated animal welfare experts can still be in centres to look after animals and our committed inspectors and animal rescue officers can still be on-hand to rescue animals.
“We will still be there whenever people, pets and wildlife need us.”
“We have been monitoring the spread of the virus for some time and have already taken steps to ensure all of our centres are well stocked in terms of specialised food and veterinary supplies.”
The organisation’ education team will not visit schools until further notice and the society said it is developing a suite of materials parents can use if they are home-schooling their children.
Ms Campbell added: “We are doing the right thing by cancelling school bookings, but we don’t want children to go without the opportunity to learn about animal welfare in the weeks ahead.
“I would say to anyone who has concerns about the impact of coronavirus on how they can care for their pet – give our animal helpline a call. We will give you all the advice and support we can.
“As Scotland’s animal welfare charity, we are here to support pet owners and make sure they can maintain the strong bond with the animals in their lives during this difficult period.”
The Scottish SPCA’s animal helpline can be reached on 03000 999 999.