AN animal hospital is delivering a lockdown lifeline to help hard-up pet owners in its community.

Cave Veterinary Specialists, near West Buckland, has launched a pet food collection initiative to supply Taunton Food Bank.

Director Sarah Hicks, who is from Taunton, said the centre is encouraging people to donate pet food to help families with animals who are suffering hardship as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

She added: "One of our nurses suggested linking up with the food bank and we all thought it was a great idea to focus on animal welfare like this during such testing times.

"I contacted the food bank to ask if they would be interested and they were very keen as it transpires that they have lots of clients who are struggling to feed their pets right now.

"So we launched our pet food collection scheme and the team here at Cave has really embraced the idea and we soon amassed a mini mountain of dog and cat food which we’ve now handed over.

"Initially this was going to be a one-off collection but the team here is keen to keep this going throughout the Covid crisis as so many pet owners have found themselves without the means to buy pet supplies.

"We’re also supporting the St Giles Animal Rescue in Wrantage as we realise that some pet owners may have to make the really difficult decision to re-home their pet if they cannot afford to feed them.

"So if this initiative prevents just a small number of owners from doing that, then it has been very worthwhile."

Recently, Cave also made a £2,500 donation to St Giles, which has seen its funding become severely affected during the coronavirus outbreak.