An animal welfare charity has released new figures that show Aberdeen and the north-east made-up nearly 10% of call-outs in the last six months.
The Scottish SPCA’s animal rescue officers and inspectors responded to 3,277 reports in the area, from a total of 36,299 across Scotland.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the charity has reported an 8% drop in reports of animals in need nationwide compared to the first six months of 2019.
In the first half of 2020, there were 119,564 calls to the charity’s animal helpline – a 10% drop from 133,047 on the previous period in 2019.
Lockdown forced the closure of all nine animal rescue and rehoming centres across the country which meant animals were arriving at the centres without being rehomed. This put immense pressure on teams and resources.
To relieve this, an emergency foster scheme saw over 260 animals who were ready to be rehomed go out on foster.
More than 70 were permanently rehomed by fosterers. As restrictions eased, virtual rehoming was introduced to get animals into homes.
Despite the closure, the Scottish SPCA has rehomed 1,796 animals in the first six months of the year. This is down by 23% from 2,339 in 2019.
The National Wildlife Rescue Centre did not close its doors and continued to take in injured, sick or orphaned wild animals.
Admissions in the first half of this year are down 47% from the same period in 2019.
3,377 animals arrived at the centre in Clackmannanshire compared to 5,139 in the previous year.
The centre has been especially busy since lockdown eased in May, with almost 1,000 animals on-site at a given time.
The Scottish SPCA had engaged with 48,798 school children through its free educational programme until it was put on hold in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cancelled bookings since then meant education officers were unable to meet over 40,000 primary and secondary school pupils.
It provided free educational resources online to support home-learning, and these have been downloaded over 6,000 times by parents, carers and teachers.
1,000 printed learning packs were also developed and, with the help of Police Scotland, distributed to children who may struggle to access online tools.
Scottish SPCA chief executive Kirsteen Campbell said: “Our whole team has worked so hard through this unprecedented crisis, and the passion and dedication they have displayed all the way through has been truly inspirational.
“Even during lockdown, we were still averaging a call about an animal in need every 90 seconds, which shows the scale of demand there was for our services.
“As Scotland’s animal champions, we have a duty to continue to do our job under any circumstances to make sure pets, wildlife, farm animals and people get the help they need.
“Thank you so much to our partners and the public for such great support.”