sundaylife

| 17.8°C Belfast

Northern Ireland's animal charities and shelters feeling the impact of Covid-19


Close

Avril McColm - Cattery Assistant with Kurio the cat at Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary. Credit: Colm O'Reilly

Avril McColm - Cattery Assistant with Kurio the cat at Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary. Credit: Colm O'Reilly

Janet Hume at Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary.  Credit: Colm O'Reilly/Sunday Life

Janet Hume at Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary. Credit: Colm O'Reilly/Sunday Life

Avril McColm - Cattery Assistant with Kurio the cat at Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary. Credit: Colm O'Reilly

It's not just people feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic - animal charities and shelters are taking a hit too.

With their doors closed to the public, rescue centres are trying to provide for the animals in their care but are unable to accept new arrivals.

Some have seen a surge of inquiries from people bored at home and looking to adopt an animal, but a dog is for life, not just for lockdown.

Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary manager Janet Hume said the crisis could have an enormous impact on animal welfare.

"A lot of pets are getting so much attention right now. They're getting more walks and more human company than usual because people are stuck at home, but when their owners go back to work it will be really difficult for them," she explained.

"I'm also worried about the animals out there that need rescuing, that can't be helped because of lockdown.

"We currently can't accept any new arrivals and it means we're having to turn animals away. When people ring us to say that they're struggling to keep their pet, we're having to ask them to try and manage until after the crisis.

"There could also be more unwanted animals at the end of this because owners have lost their jobs and may be unable to afford to keep their pets.

We understand that our supporters may be facing their own financial struggles, but right now any donations are welcome, however small Janet Hume, Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary

"We have a partnership with Women's Aid where we temporarily take in pets to help women who have to go into refuges."

The charity's two shops, in Antrim and Larne, have had to close. They are responsible for generating approximately a third of the group's annual income.

The organisation has also seen most other fundraising affected, and there are still just under 40 cats and dogs at the sanctuary that need caring for, even though the site is closed to all its usual volunteers.

Close

Avril McColm - Cattery Assistant with Kurio the cat at Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary. Credit: Colm O'Reilly

Avril McColm - Cattery Assistant with Kurio the cat at Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary. Credit: Colm O'Reilly

Avril McColm - Cattery Assistant with Kurio the cat at Mid Antrim Animal Sanctuary. Credit: Colm O'Reilly

Janet and her team have split into three groups of three and organised a rota for looking after the animals.

"We understand that our supporters may be facing their own financial struggles, but right now any donations are welcome, however small," she said.

"People can donate online, order supplies for our animals via our Amazon wishlist or even leave donated pet food and toys at our gates.

"Our charity shops will also need stocking when this is all over, so if you're having a spring clear-out, please think of us."

Belfast Telegraph