NEARLY 900 animal welfare jobs were attended across East Lothian by the Scottish SPCA during the first six months of 2020.

New data released by the national charity highlighted that a total of 36,299 jobs were recorded across Scotland.

East Lothian made up 881 of those incidents, with neighbouring Midlothian seeing 740.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish SPCA reported an eight per cent drop in reports of animals in need nationwide compared to the first six months of 2019.

However, in East Lothian, the number was only down from 900.

Kirsteen Campbell, Scottish SPCA chief executive, 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.

“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.”

In the first half of 2020, there were 119,564 calls to the charity’s animal helpline – a 10 per cent drop from 133,047 in the previous period in 2019.

Lockdown forced the closure of all nine Scottish SPCA animal rescue and rehoming centres across Scotland, which meant animals were arriving at the centres without being rehomed.

This put immense pressure on teams and resources.

To relieve this, an emergency foster scheme saw more than 260 animals who were ready to be rehomed go out on foster.

More than 70 of the animals were permanently rehomed by fosterers.

Despite the closure, the Scottish SPCA has rehomed 1,796 animals in the first six months of the year.

However, the number is down by 23 per cent from 2,339 in 2019.