Since lockdown began, the RSPCA has been called to over 21,000 suffering animals, an average of 27 an hour.

Officers from the charity in Greater Manchester have dealt with 1,088 incidents, including an injured goose in Leigh and a cat in Bury.

The specialist water team was called to a lake to rescue the goose, who had an injured wing, whilst officers in Bury had to rescue a cat who had been stuck in a tree for more than 24 hours.

A lurcher named Harvey is one of the 4,200 animals being cared for by the charity.

Harvey was abandoned in a garden in Norfolk, so frightened that it took two hours for an RSPCA inspector to get him to trust her enough to put on a lead.

These figures have been released as part of an emergency appeal to get vital funding for the charity.

Dermot Murphy, chief inspectorate officer, said: “Despite 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 last three weeks, 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.”

As well as operating an emergency service, officers have also been caring for pets whose owners have been admitted to hospital with Covid-19, as well as urging people to make an emergency pet-care plan, including a poster in the window informing people that there are pets inside.

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