'Totally heartbreaking': Yorkshire Animal Ambulance forced to stop service due to coronavirus

The Yorkshire Animal Ambulance has been forced to stop their service completely due to coronavirus.

Suzanne Waller - YAA

Suzanne Waller, who has operated the ambulance since 2007, told the Yorkshire Post the decision to stop the service was 'totally heartbreaking'.

Suzanne - who has saved hundreds of animals in the past 13 years - did not even take a salary from the service in recent months.

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She said the service had survived many difficult situations since it was created.

However, coronavirus has left the Yorkshire Animal Ambulance with zero money to continue and Suzanne said the government support schemes would not help the service.

Now, Suzanne said she is focusing on a 'new chapter' of her life following the decision.

She told the Yorkshire Post: "We have operated through tough economic times and always got through.

"We got through and survived and we were doing amazing.

"We survived until the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.

"When it started here in the UK, we battled with the social distancing measures in place.

"This meant we could not go into peoples houses, we could not have help lifting and carrying dogs or if we did we placed ourselves at risk, then owners had to find their own transport to the vets as we could only transport the pets – due to not being able to comply with the 2m rule.

"I had cancer 6 years ago and have Asthma so I had to be really tough with the rules. This saw a dramatic down turn in the business as people wanted to travel understandably with their pets."

Suzanne said lockdown made the situation even more perilous for the service.

She added: "I had several people who worked for us who were also unable to continue, understandably due to the risk to their own health and families.

"By this point most vets were operating emergencies only and no routine appointment, so we lost a vast amount of our work!

"This has meant zero money and zero money to be able to continue.

"The government have put in place several schemes of which the ambulance was eligible for none as a limited company.

"Personally, I have been unable to get 80% of wages due to not having a wage for several months.

"It has left me with more debt than ever that we are unable to pay, bills for fuel and vehicle costs.

"Therefore [we were] left with no alternative than to cease trading to avoid incurring further debt.

"Unable to work for another 9 weeks, even if I took payment holidays the debt would still increase and be there at the end and the mountain was too big to climb.

"Over 12 years YAA have amassed a large following of people and “fans” as well as an amazing client base.

"We know by ceasing trading we have left lots who rely on us and the vets we work with totally stuck for valuable help.

"YAA has lost count of how many people value and love our service and it has been a totally heart breaking decision, one we didn’t do lightly."

Suzanne said she had made the decision with 'a heavy heart'.

She added: "We know many animals will now suffer as a result.

"The amount of work we have turned down recently is immense and YAA is deeply sorry that we couldn’t get help to keep going.

"YAA would like to thank each and every one of our clients for 12 years.

"Without you we would have been nothing.

"To all the vets who have supported us and we have worked alongside, we couldn’t have asked for any better vets!

"You are a credit to the veterinary profession.

"Special thanks extended to Abbey House Vets at Morley &Vets4Pets who have been two of our biggest partners.

"It has been an absolute pleasure!

"I personally am now focused on getting a knee injury sorted and starting a new chapter in my life, hopefully working within the Ambulance Service but this time people!"

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