Staff at Teckels Animal Rescue Centre are sleeping on site amid huge challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Whitminster shelter has lost its primary sources of income – having to cancel fundraising events and no longer receiving boarding or adoption fees.
As a result, 75 per cent of staff have been furloughed. Those who remain are working in two teams, operating alternative weeks on a seven days off – seven days on rota and sleeping on site.
“This means we cut travel time down to a minimum and ensures there are always staff on site, even if one team needs to self-isolate,” explained centre manager Sarah Johnson.
“It’s heart-breaking. Each one is devastated – they just want to be here helping.
“We’ve also needed to cancel all our volunteer support which we rely on for day to day running of the centre.”
“Most small rescue centres survive hand to mouth, so something as massive as Coronavirus will I’m sure result in some rescue centres simply not surviving.
“The income from our boarding kennel and cattery business covers over half of our rescue centre costs. However, we have lost 99 per cent of our clients as we are only able to accept animals belonging to key workers.
“With Easter and the lead up to summer being our busiest boarding periods, this couldn’t have hit us at a worse time. Some clients have been incredibly kind and donated their boarding fees but it’s just a tiny amount compared to what we usually receive.
“Supporters have always been generous in donations, food and bedding, but due to social distancing and travel restrictions even these are currently unable to be received by rescue centres.
“Public generosity through financial donations, may well be the only way that our local rescue centres will survive.
There has also been an impact on animals. with those already in rescue centres unable to leave.
“I’ve had various calls this week alone,” said Sarah.
“People needing to surrender their pets due to illness, finances, and issues relating to lockdown such as dogs struggling in the house with children 24/7 and households with multiple cats being shut in together and now fighting.
“We anticipate that the number of abandoned animals will only increase during and in the aftermath of self-isolation.”
You can donate at teckelsanimalsanctuaries.co.uk/donate