Norwich Bulletin - 10/12/2008
Rescues of Old|
I have always been so proud to say that we have been taking in cats for the last thirteen years and have been able to place over 3,000 cats into new homes during that time. Then I went to England and learned about some of their rescue history as well as visited their facilities.
In 1822 a man named Richard Martin wrote the first anti-cruelty bill that would give cattle, horses and sheep a degree of protection through Parliament. Because he had compassion for animals, he was regarded as a bit bizarre and nicknamed, "Humanity Dick." During these times, animals were regarded as commodities. In 1824, Richard Martin was one of the 22 founders of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the very first national animal protection society in the world.
The first few years were tough as the organizationís goals were to win over the hearts and minds of the general population and to change peopleís indifference to animal cruelty. In 1832 there were 181 convictions for animal cruelty and people became painfully aware of the plight of the animals.
The society continued with such stellar work that in 1840, Queen Victoria gave her permission for the SPCA to become known as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, as it is still known today. There vision is to work for a world in which all humans respect and live in harmony with all other members of the animal kingdom. Today the Society campaigns for new animal welfare laws and investigates allegations of animal cruelty.
In 1896 The Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter was formed and began offering their services to the general public and taking in stray, neglected, injured and abandoned animals. They currently receive over 3,000 animals per year that are looking for loving homes or seeking to be reunited with their owners.
In 1907, two sisters, Mrs. E.B. Guard and Mrs. Agnes Grant, started a charity and would cycle around Plymouth, collecting stray cats, and later moving on to helping dogs as well. With the help of members and volunteers, the Gable Farm Dogs and Cats Homes look after 2,000 cats and dogs every year. Each animal coming through their doors, receives veterinary care and individual attention throughout their stay at the Farm.
They have a strict non-euthanasia policy, which means no healthy animal is ever "put to sleep." They have eleven acres and the dogs and cats have modern accommodation facilities available, which includes heated pods and outdoor runs for every cat and dog. They have found that this type of environment cuts down on the behavioral problems that can develop amongst the animals in care.
When I think of the old, dirty and drafty facilities that most cities and towns have for dogs and how they offer nothing for cats, I cannot help but believe that we could learn a lot from our UK friends as to how to treat our homeless animals. The fact that they rehome so many animals a year is amazing to me, when small towns here will still euthanize after only seven days! Whatís wrong with this picture?
Letís go on to Cats Protection, which was formed in 1927 and is the United Kingdomís number one feline welfare charity. They boast of rehoming and reuniting 55,500 cats and kittens every year, through their network of 256 voluntarily run branches and 29 adoption centers. Right now they have up to 7,000 gorgeous felines in their care and will find homes for all of them or they will care for the cats themselves at the shelter. 7,000 cats at one time Ė and we here in the US think we are great when we can say we care for 700.
These organizations are timeless and one of the newest Societyís in existence was founded in 1963. Mrs. Dolly Bromley found a small dog tied up and abandoned in Amersham. She took it to the local police where she learned that if the dog was not claimed it would be killed by the end of the week. Dolly refused to accept this and started telephoning friends and acquaintances and found it a new and loving home.
This one little dog became the foundation for the Amersham and Chesham Dog Rescue and Welfare Society. Soon all dogs were being referred to this Rescue. Since that time, over 16,000 dogs have found homes through the Society. No dog is needlessly destroyed. The Society is now based at Woodfield Spring Kennels and is renamed Chilterns Dog Rescue Society. They put a lot of effort into putting the right dog into the right home as well as providing training support where needed and they are a favorite amongst the general public.
With over 140 years of practice and learning the ins and outs of animal rescue, the UK has succeeded in places we in the US have not. If we could take the best of their rescue world, and the best of ours, what a wonderful world this would be.
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