Pets become hidden victims of Covid crisis with hundreds abandoned

Pets become hidden victims of Covid crisis with hundreds abandoned over false claims they pass on virus while others are left after owners die or ditch them due to financial worriesPet owners are abandoning pets over fears they could catch the coronavirus Comes months after animal charities said owners could not get virus from petsRSPCA will launch a campaign to help break the false claims and help owners Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19By Bhvishya Patel For Mailonline Published: 06:21 EDT, 8 May 2020 | Updated: 06:34 EDT, 8 May 2020 Pets owners across the UK are abandoning their animals during lockdown after false claims suggested they could contract the virus from their beloved creatures.As the nation continues to remain in lockdown, the RSPCA has received more than 1,600 reports of abandoned animals in the UK by owners who fear they could catch the virus themselves or who can no longer afford to look after their animals.The shocking revelation comes just months after animal groups expressed their concerns that the Covid-19 crisis would leave animals at risk.  The RSPCA will now launch a campaign to help break the false claims and help owners with emergency pet-care plans should they be admitted to hospital. Pets are being abandoned during the coronavirus lockdown after false claims began to emerge that the animals could pass the virus onto humans. Pictured: RSPCA worker examines an abandoned fox Pictured: An RSPCA officer tries to capture  an Egyptian Goose gosling that had been reported to have a broken wing in Crystal Palace ParkOwners will also be asked to display a message on their window alerting others that there is an animal inside their home should they be taken ill. Among the cases the charity has so far seen are that of an underweight two-year-old poodle which was thrown over a 7ft fence in Ilford, East London, and a rabbit which was found dumped in a cardboard box in Liverpool.The rabbit, who was unable to move his back legs and and had flystrike, a painful condition caused by flies laying eggs on an animal, had to be put to sleep.The charity also reported two female cats had been discovered by a member of public next to a canal in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. In March Chris Laurence, chair of the Canine and Feline Sector Group, assured the public that there was no evidence that pets could contract coronavirus urged the public not to abandon their animals.He said: ‘We are concerned that rapidly changing and conflicting information was leaving pet owners confused and worried.  Pictured: An RSPCA officer collects a Terrier in London after its owner passed away The RSPCA will launch a campaign to help break the false claims surrounding coronavirus and pets. Pictured: An RSPCA animal collection officer collects a Terrier’Those of us who work with animals are concerned that this information could leave animals at risk as pets could end up abandoned by anxious families unsure if they pose a risk or how they can care for them in isolation.’We have come together to reassure people that there is no evidence that pets can get sick from coronavirus so not to panic or worry. We have also written some clear and simple tips about how to continue to care for them through this crisis.’Like many others, the animal welfare sector is facing huge strain, with reduced staffing, loss of volunteers and pressure on resources. ‘We need to reassure owners with good advice so they can continue to look after their pets and this will help prevent rescue centres being overwhelmed at this challenging time.’RSPCA inspector Chris McGread said: ‘Although much of the country is on lockdown, sadly there are still thousands of animals who need our help, including abandoned pets. An RSPCA officer arrives at South Godstone RSPCA Centre with a cat that had been rescuedin London’Many people are finding their pets are a real source of comfort in these anxious times and thankfully cases of abandonment are slightly lower than usual but it’s heartbreaking that some beautiful pets like Red are being dumped during this crisis.’In most cases we don’t know why pets are abandoned but it’s really important to remind people that there is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 can be passed from pets to people.’There is lots of help and support out there for anyone else struggling to get animal food, with health or behavioural issues, exercising their pets or managing to keep children safe around pets. Please don’t be afraid to ask for help.’

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