AN ANIMAL charity has reassured pet-lovers that it is continuing to rescue and rehome animals despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The RSPCA has contingency plans in place to cope with the weeks and months ahead.

It has a team of frontline officers, 17 animals centres - including RSPCA Felledge Animal Centre in Chester-le-Street and RSPCA Great Ayton Animal Centre in Middlesbrough - four wildlife centres and four animal hospitals across England and Wales.

Chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “Thanks to our amazing, dedicated and professional team of staff and volunteers, the RSPCA is still rescuing and rehoming animals in these difficult times.

“We are having to change the way we work, but please be assured we are doing everything we can to make sure that we get help to the animals most in need.”

He added: “There is a great deal of anxiety, worry and concern at the moment. Being around animals can bring great pleasure, companionship and mental health benefits, so we hope people will draw comfort from spending time with their pets and watching wildlife to help them through the weeks and months ahead.”

The RSPCA has frontline officers working around the clock to help animals.

Officers are regularly handwashing before and after handling animals, avoiding entering premises and asking people to bring animals to the door where appropriate and keeping their vans clean, and sanitising hands whenever they leave their vehicles.

Our centres are restricting public access, but anyone looking to rehome an animal can look at the RSPCA website for pets which need adopting and make an appointment to visit if they see one they like.

Extra hygiene measures are in place to protect staff and visitors, but we would ask anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 not to visit.