An animal welfare activist has warned of the devastating impact on animal charities of the coronavirus pandemic.
Longton’s Angie Stevenson, a self-described life-long cat and dog lover, warned ‘thousands of feral cats’ and ‘packs of stray dogs’ could soon be roaming Stoke-on-Trent’s streets due to strict Government rules around veterinary care.
New rules means the trap, neuter, return programme has been forced to close – which could lead to a boom in the number of cats and dogs roaming our streets according to Angie.
“If you find a stray dog now you can’t take it to the vet,” said Angie, who has helped animal charities for decades.
“You can’t take a stray cat in to be neutered anymore. The trap, neuter, return programme is closed. Just to give you an idea, one cat can have three litters per year. And that’s five, six, seven kittens each litter.
“The feral cat problem in this country is bad enough as it is. It only needs to be left about six months and suddenly you’ve got thousands of them.
“And dogs are pack animals, so are we going to see packs of wild dogs wandering the streets? They could become a danger to smaller animals and to the general public.
“This virus is going to change everybody’s lives, it really is. Additional problems have also been caused by the necessary closure of animal charity shops, such as the RSPCA and PDSA shops in Hanley, and the Staffordshire Wildlife Shop in Leek.
“The coronavirus is having a devastating impact on animal charities. Charities such as Cheadle Animal Welfare Society and the Cats Protection have been told that they will no longer be able to re-home animals already in their care.
“Sadly this means that in some cases stray animals will simply be left to die.
“People need to be reminded that animal charities are in urgent need of financial support at this sad time, and members of the public need to be reminded to look out for animals in distress.
“Animal shelters are already full to bursting point and the policy of not allowing vets to neuter animals is, in my view, a big mistake.
“I am considering contacting other animal lovers with a view to setting up an online petition asking the Government to reconsider their decision. Vets should be given the choice and allowed to make up their own minds what procedures they carry out.”
Liz Hawkins a fosterer for Cats Protection who lives in Blythe Bridge said: “If the animal is owned and is hit by a car then it would be taken to the vets but you probably wouldn’t be able to go into the consulting room. If it was a stray the RSPCA would probably come out.
How to donate to local animal charities:
You can donate to Cats Protection here.
Iris’s Cats can be contacted through their Facebook page here for donations.
Cheadle & District Animal Welfare Society can be helped by clicking here.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust can helped through this link.
And you can help PDSA here.
“We’ve been told as a charity that there is not neutering going on. We can’t rehome animals that are in our care while this is going because we have to do home visits. We would not rehome a cat without doing a home visit anyway.
“People can still donate if they get online and have a look at the local charities’ websites. Charities have wishlists too.”