NEW data from a national animal welfare charity has revealed that it attended more than 700 animal welfare reports in the Borders in the first half of 2020.

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Scottish SPCA) has shared its reports showing there were 784 animal welfare jobs attended in the Borders in the first six months of the year.

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.”

During the coronavirus lockdown, the SSPCA reported a 5.6 percent drop in reports of animals in need in the Borders, compared with the first six months of 2019. Last year, 831 reports were attended.

Nationwide, there were 119,564 calls to the charity’s animal helpline in the first half of 2020, down from 133,047 in the same period last year.

Lockdown forced the closure of all nine Scottish SPCA animal rescue and rehoming centres across Scotland.

To relieve this, an emergency foster scheme saw more than 260 animals go out for fostering.

More than 70 were then permanently settled in foster homes.

And, despite its rehoming centres being closed, the charity rehomed 1,796 animals in the first six months of the year - down by 23 percent from 2,339 in 2019.

Ms Campbell added: “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.”