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Coronavirus is posing a huge threat to the sustainability of the UK’s and Ireland’s dog and cat rescue sector, the ADCH Covid-Impact No.2 Survey reveals. The Association of Dogs and […]

Coronavirus is posing a huge threat to the sustainability of the UK’s and Ireland’s dog and cat rescue sector, the ADCH Covid-Impact No.2 Survey reveals.

The Association of Dogs and Cat Homes (ADCH) conducted a second Covid-Impact Survey in May 2020, the aim it being to help the Governments and administrations in each of the eight jurisdictions assess the long-term impact of Covid-19 on the rescue sector, analyse the impact of the rescue sector on the current effort to combat Covid-19 and the wider contribution of the animal rescue sector to society.   The results of the survey will also assist the statutory agencies and grant funders, like the Government’s Charity Fund and the National Lottery Fund, assess the impact that Coronavirus is currently having, and is expected to have, on the operations, funding and sustainability of animal rescue charities across the UK and Ireland.

The Association of Dogs and Cat Homes (ADCH) represent 150 member organisations in eight jurisdictions in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland (England, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Wales).  To assess the long term impact of Covid-19 on the rescue sector ADCH conducted a follow up survey to its initial Easter week survey to assess the long term impact of the Covid-19 virus on animal welfare and on the rescue sector.  This survey was open May 13-22 2020 and was sent to 101 ADCH members alongside around 300 other rescues that are not ADCH members.

Responses were obtained from 142 rescues compared to the April survey which had 134 responses. Responses were obtained across all eight jurisdictions that ADCH operates in.  80 ADCH members responded and 62 non members. This report summarises the responses and gives clear findings on the long term financial impact of Covid-19 on the sector.  You can read the full report here.

Key findings
The findings clearly show that Coronavirus is posing a huge threat to the sustainability of the UK’s and Ireland’s dog and cat rescue sector. The disease has impacted on 95% of ADCH members. Whilst the outbreak has yet to adversely impact the behaviour of the dog and cat owning population and indeed seems to be encouraging more interest in owning or fostering a dog or cat, there are concerns that fundraising for the sector has almost completely dried up and the short term financial sustainability of many rescues is in doubt.  The main findings are:

  • 97% of rescues report an impact from Coronavirus on their work or ability to operate with only 3% reporting no impact.
  • Over 90% of rescues have to date taken contingency measures to deal with Coronavirus
  • 71% of rescues have stopped rehoming animals and 58% have closed down their shelters to the public
  • 77% of all rescues have stopped taking in animals, 23% of rescues still taking in animals
  • Numbers of animals will continue to rise amongst rescues as dogs and cats continue to be accepted but rehoming has only just restarted. This increases costs on the rescue organisations.
  • Almost all 142 rescues that responded to the survey report restrictions have had a negative impact on fundraising: 57% report a drop in income of over 50%, 20% a drop of income between 20% and 50%
  • 47% of members have closed their shops and 100% have cancelled fundraising events
  • 17% have experience a drop in legacies
  • 52% of rescues have reduced staffing levels under the Governments’ furlough schemes, 12% by over half pre-lockdown staff levels
  • 85% of rescues have seen a reduction in volunteers
  • 20% of respondents have funds that will ensure they can continue to operate until the end of the year and 22% reported they did not know how long their funds would last.
  • 65% of rescues have applied for grants but the vast majority are grants run by ADCH, NEWC and RSPCA – the Wales Government and various Councils have given grants and business grants have been given to shop in England and Wales
  • Access to neutering and microchipping has been severely reduced: 78% of rescues reporting reduced access to neutering
  • 54% report reduced access to essential veterinary treatments, 74% to non essential treatments
  • 15% of rescues report more cats are being abandoned. This may be already the first signs of the impact of a reduction in cat neutering. A rise in the cat population due to reduced neutering is highly likely
  • Impact on dogs more limited than anticipated. Only 15% of rescue organisations report an increase in dogs being abandoned with more 22% reporting fewer dogs being abandoned than normal.  20% of members report taking in less stray dogs
  • Only 22% report that more people wish to hand over their dogs.
  • 68% of rescues have reported more people wish to foster dogs or cats and 58% wish to rehome a dog or cat.

The full report of the Covid-Impact Survey No.2 is available here
You can read the first Covid-Impact Survey report here

To support the ADCH please go to the ADCH donate page

 Other information

ADCH represents 150 cat and dog rescues across the UK and Ireland including large rescues such as Battersea, Blue Cross, Cats Protection, Dogs Trust, RSPCA but over a fifth of ADCH members are run by volunteers-only


Written by: ADCH