Pet Charities

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Picture courtesy The Big Dog Walk

What Are The Big Dog Walk Events ?

Organised as a Sunday stroll at 6 fabulous venues around the UK, The Big Dog Walk starts again this year, at the beginning of June 2021, with special events running alongside.

Belvoir Castle, Leicestershire – Loseley Park, Surrey – Borde Hill, West Sussex – Harewood House, Yorkshire – St Clere, Kent – Hylands Park, Essex, the venues picked for all dog walkers, friends, and dogs to enjoy the country estates and park locations raising money for charities.

More information available at The Big Dog Walk.

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Pet Law Amendments

Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021

There are a number of laws, rules, code of practice guidelines issued by the government in the UK covering the welfare rights of animals including our pets, trying to keep them safe and healthy.

The laws cover England and Wales and mostly Scotland and Northern Ireland but may have slightly different or additional cover.

Recently, on 29 April 2021, the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act was signed into law after receiving Royal Assent, increasing the maximum penalty for certain offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 tenfold, from six months to up to five years.

The new maximum penalty will enable courts to take a firmer approach to cases such as dog fighting, abuse of puppies and kittens, illegally cropping a dog’s ears, and gross neglect of farm animals. As well as a prison sentence, offenders can also receive an unlimited fine. Read the government’s latest story about Animal Welfare maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty raised to five years.

What does this mean for Pet Shelters and Charities?

The PDSA who rehome more than 2,000 animals a week has issued their statement naturally welcoming tightening up of animal laws in the hope that this helps to prevent the abuse that many dogs, cats, and pets suffer.

There are several other animal welfare legislation due to also come into law such as Finn’s Law, protection of service animals, Lucy’s Law, which bans the third party sale of puppies and kittens along with other proposals reaching the hearing stage at parliament which will help as deterrents to prevent owners abandoning their pets.

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Pet Charity Shops

Clothing charity shops have developed in the UK since WWII including those that support pets. The largest shop chain being PDSA, The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals with shops up and down the UK. They are an extremely important financial stream for charities and provide an invaluable nationwide recycling service.

If you’ve recently bought a new warm duvet for your bed, recycle the old one to your local pet charity shop or pet shelter. Duvets are one of the hardest items to recycle, due to their construction, where local councils advise you to try and donate these items to charities. Charities are grateful for all clean old bedding and textiles including pillows, cushions, and towels. The sales from these items help to finance pet rehoming centres and a quantity is sent directly to the centres for everyday use. Your donation can help a pet that may be in distress.

The best way to find out where your local outlet is to search who lists pet charity shops and animal shelters near you. Give them a call before turning up with your donations to ensure they have room to take them and they may want them to be packed up in a certain way due to the pandemic restrictions.

Winter Pet Strays

Autumn and Winter Bring Hardships

Every year, pet charities take into their care huge numbers of stray pets during the winter that require shelter. Finding a stray and helping them has been made a little more difficult with the current pandemic, Covid-19. Even to the point that helping and taking in stray pets have a new code of practice to follow.

Vets recommend to take precautions –

  • 1. Wash hands with soap and water before and after touching an animal
  • 2. Avoid close contact with pets from other households and stray animals as you simply do not know where they have been.
  • has provided some guidelines.
  • Pets can be very frightened, so take care of approaching them. Most will be so cold and hungry that they are unlikely to fight – or dogs try to bite. Most will be thirsty so providing them with some water will help them to be calm and co-operate.
  • Take a quick photograph before they have any time to leave. This is useful for posting on ‘Lost and Found’ pet boards.
  • Check if the pet has a collar and id tag which may indicate if the pet is microchipped or have an owner’s phone number, so call up. Both dogs and cats can be wearing trackers which means that their owners should know where they are. Call the contact information inscribed on the tracker device if no one finds you and the pet.
  • You may have to try and put a lead on a dog if they have a collar.
  • Contact your local charity and inform them of the stray in your care. They may have facilities to read a microchip or ask you to go to the local vet where it could be read and ownership established.
  • Pop the details on the social media platforms you use and other localised and national websites available for lost pets.
  • Putting up ‘found’ local signs, along streets, with a contact detail can help.
  • Checking with local vets if any similar pet has recently been treated. 
  • Report the stray on the local council website as found.
  • Provide a stray cat with a warm shelter outside, water, and if possible some food.
  • Dogs are a little more tricky to accommodate, but again provide a secure warm temporary shelter, preferably not tying up the dog but where the shelter doesn’t allow him to escape, and provide water and some appropriate food if possible.

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The Importance Of Christmas Pet Charity Appeals

Christmas is an important time for pet charities to raise income through branded merchandise, membership subscriptions sold as gifts, donations and the many millions of Christmas cards the public buy from trading outlets.

Christmas scene with two pet dogs sitting on chair

The larger pet charities invest time in growing ranges of exclusive products, quality online shopping websites and search engine optimisation to get their websites noticed online.

Pet And Animal Charities

There are many animal charities including the not-for-profit UK registered organizations, which pet owners have relied upon since 1824; Queen Victoria granted the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Royal status 1840, now known as the Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals.
Numerous features in the yearly top 1,000 UK charitable earners where income is generated from legacies left in wills, income earned, and increasingly donations provided by charitable trusts.

Top Earning UK Pet Charities A selection of the larger pet charities earners includes The Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals RSPCA, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, RSPB, The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, PDSADogs Trust, The Guide Dogs for the Blind AssociationCats Protection, The Donkey SanctuaryBlue CrossNational Animal Welfare TrustBattersea Dogs Home.

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Smaller Pet Charities That Need Your Help

Street Vet founded in 2016 to aid the growing number of dogs on the street with their homeless owners. The homeless have such a bond with their pets but cannot afford expensive veterinary care when it is needed. StreetVet charity provides care with vets and nurses working with some outreach centres across the UK weekly. The cases number most dogs, some cats and a rabbit. 
Working out of Battersea Dogs Home, veterinary staff donate their time across the UK to help those in need. Vets vaccinate, microchip, treat for lungworm and fleas, performed surgeries.
Street Paws provide free accessible veterinary care and emergency kennel space to animals living with homeless people in the UK.
Many hostels that help the homeless do not accept dogs, but your fundraising can assist them in building and hosting kennel space to allow dogs to get a safe good night’s sleep. It will also assist in any veterinary care needed to dogs living on the streets.  
Pets As Therapy are a national charity helping to provide trusted volunteers and animals visiting hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, care homes, schools, and other sites well-known that pets enhance health and wellbeing. War Paws helps those dogs and animals caught up in countries suffering from wars, rescue and rehome dogs, and help and support soldiers and contractors in war zone countries. Read their mission.

How Pet Charities Help The Public

Pet Shelters Numerous national and local charities run animal shelters up and down the country. They provide much-needed support to pets and wild animals in the UK. Your local shelter is easy to find by simple online searches, “pet shelter near me,” “animal shelter volunteer.” They rely heavily on the generosity of donated time in helping to keep these services running. 

Gift Aid The government introduced the Gift Aid scheme, 1990, which can boost donations by up to 25% for the charity. It allows charities to reclaim tax on a donation made by a UK taxpayer, which means donations made will be worth 25% more at no cost to you or the charity. Higher tax payers effectively can gain more relief.
Charities require a simple form to be completed. Unfortunately, this applies to individuals and not through company accounts. Most charities will have details on their websites. 

Pet Charity Lotteries
Lotteries are big income-earning businesses for pet charities, large and small, up and down the country. Jackpots are manageable, generally paid weekly, and the process easy to set up under the Gambling Commission guidelines. Larger charities are licensed by the Gambling Commission under the Gambling Act 2005.

Sponsoring Animals Some charities such as the Cats Protection League offer the public opportunities to sponsor cats being a source of publicity and charitable income and provide the public with an alternative where they can feel part of the organization by receiving dedicated newsletters, special photos and visit invitations.

Charity Shops Charity shops are an important part of the pet charities’ donation income. The public generously donates unwanted, good condition clothing, pet items, and homewares which can be resold in their charity-owned shops located all over the UK. Charities greatly rely upon volunteers to help man their shops. The PDSA has more than 120 shops nationwide. Most charities have store locator details on their websites.  

The Battersea Dogs and Cat Home tirelessly saving dogs and cats’ lives and rehome them in London. Nearly 8,000 dogs found new homes last year where owners had lost or failed to be able to keep their dogs offering a quality of life. Many of our animal charities work tirelessly trying to resolve these community problems caused by poorly treated animals and need funding to carry on their work. The government have provided the public with laws, rules, and guidelines for animal and pet welfare but the charities ‘pick up the pieces when things go wrong.

Puppy Farms  Lucy’s Law, 6 April 2020, is new legislation cracking down on puppy farms requiring animals to be born and reared in a safe environment, kept by Licensed dog breeders, where puppies interact with their mother and to be sold from their place of birth came into force.
Businesses selling puppies and kittens without a licence, could receive an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months.

Breeds v Rescue Centre Strays  When choosing a healthy pedigree puppy, it’s important to factor in the total costs involved in caring for your pet over their expected lifetime of 10 -15 years. (The oldest dogs recorded living in the UK are currently 26 years old). Breeds cost considerably more to purchase and to insure. Animal shelters do receive pedigree pets from owners that can no longer care for their pet, and this can be a great alternative if that breed is the right choice for your lifestyle.

Microchipping The government introduced compulsory microchipping of dogs in 2016 to help prevent the high number of strays and loss of pets in the UK. Whilst there are vets up and down the country and trained professionals that are trained to provide the service, pet owners are expected to pay. The service is explained on their Get Your Dog Microchipped page. Larger cats and dogs leaving pet shelters are likely to have been chipped prior to being handed over to the pet’s new owners. Reforms to this current piece of legislation are under review, 8 May 2021 where a government-appointed Pet Theft Taskforce is currently looking at a number of animal welfare problems which include aspects of microchipping with further details to be announced during mid-summer, 2021.

There are three charities currently that provide a free microchipping service for pet owners –

Big Dog Walk Day Dogfest and Bought By Many pet insurers have teamed up to bring the UK the largest dog walking opportunity to date. Join thousands of other pet owners helping to raise desperately needed monies for their favourite charities during September. A month-long challenge where you can choose the length of walk you want to aim for, seek sponsors, then cover the distance with your dog. The aim is to walk enough that adds up to walking around the world! Track your progress online.  #WorldBigDogWalk 

Lady walking dog

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