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West Berkshire animal welfare charities team up to launch fundraising campaign



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Organisations expecting huge increase in unwanted and abandoned pets due to Covid-19

FOUR West Berkshire animal welfare charities have joined forces to launch a fundraising appeal as they brace themselves for a huge increase in unwanted and abandoned pets as a result of Covid-19.

It is hoped that World Animal Week – West Berkshire, which runs from September 28 to October 4, will raise awareness of the impact that coronavirus has had on animal welfare.

The appeal has been launched by Newbury Cats Protection, Dogs Trust Newbury, RSPCA Newbury and District and the National Animal Welfare Trust in Great Shefford.

All four charities say they expect to see an increased demand for their services in the coming weeks and months as the recession hits, jobs are lost and families struggle to keep their animals as a result of financial hardship.

Cats Protection’s Newbury adoption centre says it expects to take in some of the 84,000 extra kittens that will be born across the UK this year owing to vets not being able to neuter during the pandemic.

In addition, Dogs Trust Newbury expects to take in some of the 40,000 dogs that will be given up due to behavioural issues like separation anxiety, which could develop as a result of suddenly being left alone when their owners leave them to return to work

The National Animal Welfare Trust also says it is seeing a rise in pets being given up by owners who can no longer afford their care.

The local RSPCA has concerns that it could also be called upon to fund additional veterinary treatment for affected pets for low income families and those that have hit hard times as a result of the recession.

Organiser of World Animal Week – West Berkshire Liz Goodman said: “The pandemic is taking its toll on animal welfare in West Berkshire, which is why the charities have joined together to launch a unique appeal for funds.

“Issues amongst our organisations include a drop in donations as a result of having to pause some fundraising activities, a rise in the number of requests for financial help and a prediction there will be an increase in the number of unwanted animals as a knock-on effect of the Covid pandemic.

“None of the charities receive government funding so we would be very grateful for donations to help us continue our vital animal welfare work in these challenging times.”

She added: “We know pets have brought a great deal of comfort to their owners’ lives during the pandemic so we also wanted to use this week to celebrate the joy animals bring to our lives.

“We’re working with local schools, companies and West Berkshire Council to promote two key fun events – a Wear your Whiskers day on September 30 and a competition where people can tell us how their pet has supported them throughout Covid-19.”

Animals across West Berkshire who have needed help include 10-month-old Dachshund Wilson, who was handed into Dogs Trust Newbury for separation anxiety-related behaviours in July.

He has now been happily rehomed.

Others include three unwanted kittens called Midge, Maud and Betty, who were extremely thin, lethargic and underweight when brought to Newbury Cats Protection in August. Midge also had a ruptured eye that had to be removed. They are currently recovering in the charity’s care.

The appeal has attracted support from celebrity couple Frankie and David Seaman, who live in West Berkshire and foster unwanted kittens for Cats Protection.

To donate, visit https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=WorldAnimalWeekWestBerkshire&pageUrl=1

All funds will be distributed evenly among the four charities.

If your organisation would like to participate, contact World Animal Week – West Berkshire organiser Liz Goodman by emailing liz@rspca-newbury.org.uk



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