RSPCA rescuers have dealt with more than 490 incidents in Somerset since the start of lockdown, including saving ten ducklings after they were washed away in Bridgwater

Since the government announced lockdown last month, RSPCA rescuers across the country have dealt with 21,137 incidents of animal cruelty and suffering animals which need help - an average of 660 a day, or 27 an hour .

Of these, 497 were in Somerset, including ten ducklings who were rescued after being washed away in Bridgwater, and a fox cub who was found wet and shivering next to the River Tone in Taunton on April 19.

The wild animals who are given a hand by the charity's animal rescues are taken to RSPCA West Hatch Wildlife Centre where they receive the care they need before being released back into the wild.

West Hatch Animal Centre in Somerset is caring for more than 150 pets and wildlife during lockdown, including ten rabbits whose owner lost interest in them and could no longer meet their needs.

Pluto, Mercury and Earth, pictured below, are looking for homes now that the RSPCA has started rehoming at some centres.

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Bel Deering, West Hatch manager, said: “These friendly bunnies could put Beyoncé to shame with their windblown hair and perfect makeup! We wish we all looked this good in the morning!

“Five of the 10 buns have been reserved and will go to their new homes once lockdown is lifted. The other five - including Pluto, Mercury and Earth - are still available.”

The charity has released the figures as part of its emergency appeal, launched to keep its rescue teams out on the road during the coronavirus crisis and continuing to rescue animals most in need.

The RSPCA’s animal rescuers have been designated as key workers by the government, but funding is still needed to help its frontline staff continue its crucial work across England and Wales.

RSPCA rescuers have recorded vlogs to show what it’s like working on the frontline, in RSPCA animal hospitals and in animal centres during lockdown.

Since the Government announced the lockdown on Tuesday, March 24:

  • RSPCA rescuers have dealt with 21,137 incidents of animal cruelty and suffering animals which need help
  • The charity has received more than 66,000 calls from members of the public
  • There are 4,200 animals in RSPCA care
  • The charity has rescued more than 1,274 abandoned animals in need.

Dermot Murphy, Chief Inspectorate Officer, said: “Despite the lockdown, there are still thousands of animals which need our help.

“As designated key workers, our frontline rescuers are still out and about rescuing animals in urgent need of care. The coronavirus crisis hasn't put a stop to animal suffering and these figures show there are still many animals out there that need rescuing.

"Our rescuers have dealt with over 21,000 incidents in the past months, an average of 660 a day and there are many more animals who need our help. However, our resources are under huge strain and vital funding is needed to keep our rescue teams out on the road.

“We know that this is a difficult time for everyone but we must still be here for animals who are suffering and we are appealing for animal lovers to give whatever they can to help us.”

As well as operating an emergency service, rescuing animals in need, RSPCA officers have also been collecting animals from the homes of people who have been admitted to hospital with Covid-19, who may not have anyone else to care for them while their owners are being treated.

RSPCA Animal Hospital teams are carrying out lifesaving operations and giving emergency treatment to animals most in need.

Among the animals which have been rescued by the RSPCA since lockdown started are:

  • A stray newborn kitten found with a wound across his body caused by a piece of ligature, rescued from a garden in Birmingham
  • A pheasant which was rescued from a car grille after being stuck there for EIGHT days
  • A dehydrated baby owlet which was found struggling to survive in a village in Suffolk
  • Three rabbits which were dumped with fly-litter in Essex

The RSPCA is also urging pet-owners to make an emergency pet-care plan should they be admitted to hospital with Coronavirus, including placing a poster in the window informing people that there are pets inside.

To help the RSPCA keep rescuing animals like these and keep our animal hospitals and centres running for emergency treatment and round the clock care through these unprecedented times, donate at