RSPCA deal with more than 16,000 lockdown incidents in North West

The RSPCA has answered almost one million calls since the start of lockdown one year ago, and officers across the North West have dealt with 16,319 incidents.

The charity has had to adapt the way it works to comply with lockdown rules and social distancing but has continued to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals during the pandemic. One year on, the RSPCA is looking back on some of the amazing achievements, despite challenging times.

Chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “The last year has been incredibly difficult for individuals, for families, for businesses, for charities and for animals. But I’m incredibly proud of the work the RSPCA has managed to do during this challenging year.

“We’ve had to adapt how we work, change our procedures, review our practices, and all while we continue our vital everyday work rescuing, rehabilitating, rehoming and releasing animals, and investigating animal cruelty.”

Since 23 March 2020, the RSPCA has been busy answering emergency calls, rescuing animals in urgent need, investigating reports of animal cruelty and neglect, taking in abandoned animals, and rehoming rehabilitated animals to wonderful new families.

Across England and Wales, the charity received 958,352 calls* to the hotline; dealt with 253,714 urgent incidents; and took 23,228 animals into care at our national centres, hospitals and private boarding partners.

The charity’s inspectors and animal rescue officers were designated key workers and continued to respond to emergencies and urgent calls, as well as rescuing animals in need. Across the North West, inspectors and animal rescue officers dealt with:

  • Cumbria – 931 incidents
  • Lancashire – 3,774 incidents
  • Greater Manchester – 5,858 incidents
  • Merseyside – 3,269 incidents
  • Cheshire – 2,487 incidents

Rescues included:

  • Rescuing a newborn calf who was drowning in a muddy bog in Greater Manchester on 31 May 2020.
  • Rescuing a huge red stag who was tangled in fencing and had fallen into a river in Cumbria in December 2020.
  • Taking in a guinea pig who was found abandoned in the snow in January in Lancashire.
  • Freeing a trapped coot and releasing him back to his family in Cheshire in June 2020.
  • Rescuing a swan stuck in the ice one a lake in Merseyside in January.

RSPCA officers and local branches teamed up to support food banks in Lancashire by donating pet food for struggling families.

The charity’s hospitals – including Greater Manchester Animal Hospital – continued to provide emergency vet care, the call centre continued to answer calls and staff at its 14 animal centres, four wildlife centres and branches continued to care for the animals in their care.

The society has had to adapt its ways of working in order to adhere with the Government’s ever-changing guidance including changing the way it rehomed. In order to adhere to social distancing and avoid unnecessary travel, the charity has been virtually rehoming and delivering pets to their new homes, with thousands of animals going off to new homes and foster families since 23 March.

The RSPCA celebrated a number of victories during lockdown including the Agriculture Bill which received Royal Assent in November 2020 meaning farmers will receive payments for higher welfare standards, and statutory footing of the Trade and Agriculture Commission, ensuring independent animal welfare advice is central to future trade policies.

The RSPCA’s campaigns and public affairs teams also celebrated the Government’s commitments to implement a ban on the private keeping of primates and compulsory microchipping of cats. After years of lobbying, the UK and Welsh governments proposed ending live animal exports for slaughter, the use of wild animals in circuses was banned in Wales, and a ban on third-party sales of puppies and kittens came into force in England in April 2020.

The charity has also seen big changes to fundraising. With the London Marathon cancelled and the RSPCA’s annual One Fun Day shelved, the charity’s events team decided to host a virtual event with animal-themed online sessions and the worlds’ first-ever live Zoom pet show. The team is now planning another home pet show on 19 June 2021. Find out how to get involved at

Chris added: “Over the past 12 months we’ve demonstrated our commitment to animals and shown that, despite the hardships we face, we will always be there for the animals who need us. But the pandemic has hit us hard; we’ve had to change how we work, suspend door-to-door fundraising and cancel fundraising events.

“The charity sector has been hit hard by the pandemic so we’re asking the public to get behind us, to donate, and to help us continue our vital work; together we can make this a better world for animals.”

To donate to the RSPCA and help us continue our vital work rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals, releasing wildlife and investigating animal cruelty please donate by visiting

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