The Battersea animal rescue centre at Old Windsor is open again - and owners struggling to look after their pets because of the Covid-19 crisis are being urged to seek its help.

Over recent weeks the charity in Priest Hill has been giving advice through a dedicated behaviour advice line as it could only accept animals on an emergency basis. Now the centre is able to take in unwanted dogs and cats again as lockdown eases, and is encouraging those in need to get in touch.

Centre manager Kaye Mughal said: “We know there will be pet owners who are struggling to care for their dogs and cats and we want them to know that we are here to help.

“We know that it can be a very difficult decision to give up your dog or cat and many people may feel embarrassed or guilty. Please put that fear aside for the sake of your pet’s welfare and bring them to a rescue. You’ll never be judged or shamed for making the responsible decision.”

Recent arrivals at Old Windsor include mongrel Asha, who arrived as a stray with ears that appeared to have been cropped and domestic short-hair cat Etna and her tiny offspring, who were brought in by a member of the public after the young mum wandered in to their home and gave birth to a litter of kittens.

If you need to find a new home for your dog or cat and are looking for advice, or if you would like to make a donation to Battersea to help it continue to care for thousands of dogs and cats a year, visit Battersea’s behaviour advice line is open 8am to 5pm Monday-Friday and can be reached on 0203 8878347.