Supporters of Scotland’s biggest animal charity are deserting it in droves as calls to the organisation’s helpline rocket during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Scottish SPCA has revealed it has been fielding more than 350 calls every day over animal welfare concerns, with staff responding to almost 4,500 incidents since the nation entered lockdown in March.
Recent weeks have seen almost 1,500 SSPCA members stop their regular monthly donations as the financial impacts of Covid-19 hit individual and families.
Coupled with the loss of income from fundraising events and challenges which normally proliferate a now decimated summer calendar, the charity fears it could be facing a drop in income of around a fifth as a result of the health crisis.
Its operations include the Angus, Fife and Tayside rescue and rehoming centre at Petterden, between Dundee and Forfar, which costs more than £16,000 every month to remain operational.
The SSPCA said that since lockdown on March 23, it had fielded more than 11,000 calls to its animal helpline and responded to over 4,400 reports of animals in urgent need.
The charity launched an emergency fostering service to free-up space as it continued to rescue animals without being able to rehome and more than 130 animals of all kinds have gone to foster homes
Some 300 animals seized on welfare grounds or picked up as strays have come in to rescue centres over the same period.
Their recent life-saving work has included the rescue of a dog whose owner was seen by a member of the public to speed away after dumping the pet in an Aberdeenshire field.
The emaciated and nervous saluki, which has been named Sookie, was taken to the Petterden centre and is now being fostered by centre manager Elliot Hay to rebuild her confidence before being rehomed.
Elliot said she is so timid that even the sound of the washing machine scares her.
He added: “Our frontline teams, whether on our helpline, out on the road, or in a rescue centre, are still here fighting to rescue and care for every single animal we can.
“We know Scotland is a nation of animal lovers and now, more than ever, we ask that they don’t forget the animals,” he added.
The Scottish SPCA receives no government funding and is entirely reliant on donations from the public.
The Society recently revealed a survey which found 25% of people confuse the organisation with the RSPCA, which does the same work but in England and Wales only, with 7% of Scots having donated to the RSPCA since December 2018.
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