NEWS & VIEWS: The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on the income of Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home. The pandemic has simply all but put a stop to their income stream. To compound matters they have not been able to take advantage of the government’s emergency funds available for charities.
The Edinburgh Evening News reports that this year they have lost £650,000. They have enough money to see the year out but after that they will in the red unless something changes for the better. In 2019 Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home rescued 499 dogs 152 cats. It costs £2.7 million annually to run the rescue centre.
Management have made 15 of their staff redundant and permanently closed two of their charity shops; at Stockbridge and Portobello. This ends the pet boarding service that they provided. They are restructuring every aspect of their business it appears to me. During the lockdown they furloughed almost 50 percent of their 65 staff.
The government imposed lockdown and travel ban almost immediately severely limited demand for their pet boarding service. The coronavirus pandemic dramatically and negatively impacted their fundraising due to cancelled events and “the evaporation of multiple other income streams”.
There are restructuring the business and hope that they can make it viable when the effects of the pandemic wind down. Comment: my reading of the situation is that people are getting back to normal but the general consensus is that coronavirus has had a permanent effect on people’s lifestyles. One example, often quoted, is that there will be more online purchases in the future. This is probably why the charity decided to close their shops. Are they expanding their online sales?
Also, in the medium-term travel will be restricted because of fears of contagion during airline travel which has had a knock-on effect on their boarding cattery service, which I suspect is why they closed it. I know that British Airways do not foresee a pickup in air travel in the immediate future. I think they are projecting about a three year timeframe to get somewhere near to where they were before.
I would have thought that this charity could get back to fundraising events sooner than later provided a vaccine is available early next year which is optimistically projected. I suppose household budgets are tighter or will be when the furlough ends and this will affect all charities.
It is a shame because it is also reported that animal welfare charities expect companion animal surrenders to go up particularly in respect of dogs because during lockdown people decided that it was a good time to adopt a dog. However, some of these new dog owners will realise the responsibilities and relinquish their animal and there has been some unscrupulous dog sellers exploiting the pandemic. This could put more pressure on shelters such as Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home.