Animal sanctuaries are preparing for tough times ahead as donations decrease and their charity shops remain closed due to coronavirus prevention measures.

Some Animal charities said they witnessed a major drop in their donations in the last two weeks, falling to zero for some. The decision to close their charity shops to avoid the virus from spreading has exacerbated the problem.

Rosalind Agius, from the Association for Abandoned Animals, said they are now relying on what is left of their revenue to pay for vet bills and food, as donations fizzled into nothing in the space of a fortnight.

“It was when we got the news of the virus being locally transmitted that we saw it drop completely,” she said.

This was another blow to the charity after it had closed its shop in ─Žamrun last week in response to fewer sales and the health of their elderly volunteers.

The sanctuary is not closed but it has been struggling to arrange adoptions and accept more strays to the around 80 dogs already in their care.

Fabio Ciappara, from Noah’s Ark Dog Sanctuary, said they too had seen a major drop in their donations from around 50 per cent to almost zero in the last two to three weeks.

They were now forced to drastically reduce their costs in order to keep feeding, medicating and homing the 85 dogs in their care. 

“We’ve prioritised buying food. Instead of buying a €20 bag we’re buying a cheaper one. We’re putting projects we had for the sanctuary on hold,” he said.

He appealed for government help by waiving the charity’s electrical and water bills for the next few months.

Noah’s Ark currently spends over €2,000 a month to run the sanctuary.

Chris Pace, from MSPCA Malta, said the organisation is still receiving some donations and making special arrangements for adopters, but all three of their charity shops had closed. 

He said that the charity was now preparing for the impact of a lockdown, but, with the government prolonging its expected introduction, their long-term financial situation could get worse.

“The longer we have to wait for a nationwide lockdown, the longer it takes for us to figure out a contingency,” Pace said.

The Secretariat for the new Agricultural Ministry said they would be looking at ways to help the sanctuaries through the Animal Welfare Grant Support Scheme, in light of COVID-19.

It added that this would be issued soon and “discussions on other forms of financial support are under way”.

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