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Branch news

Rehoming During Lockdown

Posted April 2020

We're pleased that the government has given animal centres permission to restart the rehoming of animals. We have lots of animals who are eager to get out into their new forever homes, however we need to make sure we're taking every possible step to ensure that the safety of animals, staff and adopters is maintained.

There are a few new conditions to the the adoption criteria during this period:

  • Potential adopters must live within 1 hour’s drive of the location of the animal home to enable delivery.
  • Potential adopters must not be exhibiting symptoms of Covid-19
  • Potential adopters must not be within the groups advised to follow the shielding rules.
  • All Potential adopters will need to access the internet.
  • We will not currently be rehoming dogs to homes with other dogs as we feel we cannot properly manage dog to dog introductions at this time.

A slightly different adoption process will be put in place for the foreseeable future. This adoption process is outlined below:


Step One - Initial interest/application

Prior to the lockdown we were receiving a significant number of adoption applications and we will be working through those adoptions before we restart our application process.

Once the backlog of applications has been cleared our application process will again be accessible via our website here:

Following on from this application a member of our team will get in touch with potential adopters with some follow up questions and to discuss some of our animals.


Step Two - Matching/virtual meet

Centre staff will then provide the potential adopter with video footage of animals showing their behaviour with and without human interaction in order to provide them with a sense of what the animal is like.

If potential adopters have other animals in their home, we will ask for a short video of their existing animals in the home environment. We will not currently be rehoming dogs to homes with existing dogs as we cannot appropriately manage introductions during the lockdown.


Step Three - Virtual home visit

We carry out home visits to identify any safety issues for the animals and help provide advice to potential adopters on how best to look after their new pets in their specific home environment.

Adopters will be asked to provide photos of their home and/or any enclosure they have. We may also ask for a short walkthrough video where possible. 

If everything is fine the adoption form will be emailed out to the potential adopter and we will ask you to read through the paperwork carefully before signing and sending it to us by scanning/photographing the signed page, or posting it back. This needs to be completed before the animal is delivered.  

Once we've got the paperwork back we'll agree a date and time for delivery of the animal. At this point we will also ask you to pay the adoption fee either online through paypal or by card over the phone. 

If the adopter needs to purchase food, leads, collars etc. prior to adoption day, this can be arranged with animal centre staff who have limited supplies of collars, name tags, leads, harnesses and food which can be paid for in the same way and delivered with your new pet.


Step Four - Delivery and handover of animals

All animals being adopted are to be delivered to the adopter by the RSPCA, as it is classified as essential travel in relation to key work (but not essential travel for the member of public).

A member of animal centre staff will call you prior to the animal being brought to the local to ensure everything is still okay to proceed. 

For cats and other small animals in carriers. 

  • A member of the animal team will arrive at the adopters home and call them to let them know they have arrived. 
  • The member of staff will explain that they will place the animal in the carrier outside their front door or other previously agreed outdoors safe place. Along with any paperwork / information or purchased items. 
  • The staff member will then step away so that the adopter can immediately collect the animal and take them inside in the carrier. 
  • The carrier will need to be placed back outside the front door for collection

For dogs. 

Dogs are only to be adopted by people with a secure outside area in which you can facilitate an introduction whilst social distancing.

When delivering the dogs staff will use the following procedure: 

  • Upon arrival call the adopter to check it is ok for you to bring the dog around to the agreed secure introduction area.
  • The care staff delivering the dog takes it out of the van and allows it to toilet and sniff the area and ensures it is in a calm state before meeting the adopter. 
  • Dogs are to be introduced to adopters on longline/leads. This allows for the adopter to meet the dog at a safe distance from the handler. 
  • To transfer the dog to the new adopter, the handler wipes the lead, attaches it to something, for example a gate post, and then the new owner can approach to take the lead.
  • Any accompanying paperwork and goods (food, leads, bedding etc.) will be handed over with consideration of social distancing requirements.
  • Once the adopter, animal and staff member are happy, the staff member will depart from the premises and return to the van.

For all animals. 

Staff will wait in the van for 15 minutes before leaving and adopters should call them (not come out to the van) if they have any immediate concerns. It is acceptable for the staff member to accept back the animal and return it to the centre if there are any serious concerns. 

After the member of staff leaves if adopters have any queries or concerns they should call the Animal Centre.


Step Five - Ongoing support

After the adoption placement has taken place, someone from the animal home will make a follow up call to the adopter to see how the animal is settling in and to offer any advice. 

Adopters will also be sign-posted to additional support and information available online.

In the event that an animal adoption does not work out, any animal required to be returned will be collected in the same way as the animal was delivered. Adopters will need to contact the animal home to arrange this.

Once restrictions are lifted the centre will carry out a post adoption home visit to see how the animal is settling in and to offer any further advice.


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About Us

We are primarily self-funding and the money we spend in York is raised in York and Harrogate and surrounding areas. Income is also generated by our charity shops in Goodramgate, York, Acomb and Selby.

Find out more

RSPCA York, Harrogate & District Branch

RSPCA York Animal Home
Landing Lane, YORK
YO26 4RH

Telephone: 01904 654949Our reception area is only fully manned during our opening hours, as our staff are attending to animal welfare the rest of the time.


Opening times:
Monday - Wednesday, Friday - Sunday 11:00 - 15:00Please note that the York Animal Home is closed all day Thursday. The York Animal Home is also closed on the first Thursday of every month for staff training.

RSPCA York ShopRSPCA YorkCharity ShopGBPMonday to Saturday 9:00am - 4:30pm Sunday 10:00am - 4:00pm
5B, Goodramgate, York
Telephone: 01904 466140

RSPCA Acomb ShopRSPCA AcombCharity ShopGBPMonday to Saturday 9:00am - 4:30pm Sunday 10:00am - 4:00pm
43 York Road, Acomb
Telephone: 01904 788616

RSPCA Selby ShopRSPCA SelbyCharity ShopGBPMonday to Saturday 9:00am - 4:30pm Sunday 10:00am - 4:00pm
3 New Lane, Selby
Telephone: 01757 707100

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