THE RSPCA is today launching an emergency appeal to keep its rescue teams out on the frontline in North Yorkshire saving animals through the Coronavirus crisis.

Animal rescuers at the charity have been designated key workers by the Government but vital funding is needed to keep them out on the road, continuing to rescue animals from the worst cruelty and neglect.

Although RSPCA centres have closed to the public, including Great Ayton Animal Centre in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, the charity continues to provide vital care to thousands of animals across England and Wales. RSPCA Great Ayton is currently caring for 58 animals - 24 dogs, 22 cats, 4 rabbits and 8 other pets* and is expecting even more to come into its care in the coming weeks as its rescue teams bring in more animals in need. Alongside this, the charity is also facing a huge financial strain as it is already seeing the damaging effect of this crisis on its fundraising income, while the costs of saving, treating and caring for animals continue.

The RSPCA national emergency appeal is being supported by comedian and animal lover Ricky Gervais.

He said: “It is really important for us all to pull together to help each other at this difficult time and someone needs to be there for animals, too. I would urge people to give whatever they can spare at this really difficult time to support the RSPCA so they can stay out on the frontline rescuing the animals who need them most.

“They are facing huge challenges through this crisis, but their amazing staff are committed to being there for animals in danger in any way they can and they can only do it with your help.”

Last year, RSPCA rescuers dealt with 3,654 welfare incidents in North Yorkshire and they are continuing to save animals on the frontline through this difficult time. The teams are continuing an emergency-only service through the lockdown period.

Dermot Murphy, Head of the RSPCA Rescue Teams, said: “This is a time of national crisis, and many of us are anxious about the future and our loved ones. This crisis has touched all areas of life and the RSPCA is no different. As we all face the biggest challenge of a generation, the RSPCA must continue to be on the frontline, rescuing and caring for the animals who need us most.

“Our rescuers, vets and nurses have been designated key workers by the Government which means we can carry on saving animals from cruelty and neglect and we rely entirely on generous public donations to deliver our vital services.

“We are facing immense challenges and huge pressures on strained resources, but our hugely dedicated teams are out there dealing with emergencies and our centres continue to deliver vital care to thousands of animals, with more expected in the coming weeks.

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

Since the crisis deepened at the beginning of March, our animal cruelty line has received nearly 60,000 calls*.

In North Yorkshire, these include:

A call from a very concerned owner whose cat was stuck 30ft up a tree in York on Friday 13 March.

RSPCA Animal Collection Officer Helen Martindale attended to find that the tree had no branches apart from at the very top.

She said: “The poor cat called Eden was perched about 30ft up crying.

“I called the Fire and Rescue service who came along to help and were equally surprised and puzzled as to how the cat had got that high with no branches to climb up.

“They erected their ladder and as the ladder came to rest on the top of the tree the cat began to panic and started to claw her way down the bark of the tree backwards.

“It was quite a hair raising sight for all of us watching but Eden got about 6ft from the bottom of the tree, jumped down and ran off!”

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, please donate whatever you can spare at

Many owners are concerned about caring for their pets amid the Coronavirus - or Covid-19 - outbreak. There’s lots of advice and help on our website