What Are Pet Charities?

\\\ Pet Charities At Christmas Time

\\\ Updated November 2021

The Importance Of Christmas Pet Charity Appeals

Pet Charities Need Your help At Christmas

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.

Pet lovers are reminded by much advertising and mail drops that donations can be a great way to give someone a present. Sponsoring an animal has become even more big business at this time of the year.

There are many adverts for leaving donations to pet charities in the public’s Wills, wintertime, being the time when the country experiences more deaths due to the weather conditions, and Christmas lottery tickets offering modest prizes at inexpensive ticket prices.

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.

Charitable Christmas cards were first commercially introduced during the Christmas of 1949. Since then they have formed an important part of the UK public’s Christmas spending habit raising an income to charities of around 50 million according to The Greeting Cards Association. Whilst the commissions they receive from traders can vary from shockingly as low as 3% of sales, the visual awareness and branding cannot be underestimated for the pet charities’ profiles. Even with the astonishing growth of the internet reducing how many cards we all buy each year and post, online e-cards can be alternative such as numerous personalized charity cards that operate all year round.

The recent pandemic 2020, has made the public re-focus and more pet charitable Christmas cards were bought than ever where people wanted to ensure they were connecting with friends and family during lockdowns.



The Pet Theft Act Amendments moved forward 3 September 2021. The Government’s Pet Theft Task Force has now recommended the act of abduction is made a criminal offence in a report published. Priti Patel, The Home Secretary looks to introduce tougher measures for Pet Theft in the UK. #pettheft

The Kennel Club has reported that 52% of dog thefts take place in gardens and The RSPCA recommends that owners do not leave animals outside shops and cars unattended.

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How Pet Charities Help The Public

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, the RSPCA.
Numerous pet charities feature 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.

New RSPCA Food Bank Initiative

The RSPCA has initiated pet food banks in the North of England to help pet owners who are struggling financially with the cost to feed their pets, started during the recent pandemic and now continued.

The project currently sees 35 different food banks across Lancashire, Cheshire, Merseyside, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Northumbria, and four in Greater Manchester and clearly a success to help pet owners keep their pets healthy and cared for when in difficult times.

The RSPCA accepts donations of pet food from generous members of the public. See their website page for more information.

What Do Pet Charities Do?

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 taxpayers 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
Pet 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 pet charities are licensed by the Gambling Commission under the Gambling Act 2005.

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

Charity Shops Pet charity shops are an important part of the pet charities’ donation income. The public generously donates unwanted, good condition clothing, homewares, and even unwanted pet items, 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 is the largest pet charity having more than 120 shops nationwide. Most charities have store locator details on their websites.  

The Battersea Dogs and Cat Home saves 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 has provided the public with laws, rules, and guidelines for animal and pet welfare but the charities pick up the pieces when things go wrong. They use all kinds of media to promote themselves, including being part of the famous ITV show hosted by Paul O’Grady, ‘For The Love Of Dogs’.

Puppy Farms  Lucy’s Law, 6 April 2021, 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. Charities become instrumental in helping the government to form and amend pet welfare legislation.

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 to finding a suitable pet 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, 2021, Tuk’s Law, Lucy’s Law, Gizmo’s Law.

There are three charities currently providing a free microchipping service for pet owners

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What Are The Big Dog Walk Events ?

Organised as a Sunday stroll at fabulous venues around the UK, The Big Dog Walk continues 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.

Picture courtesy The Big Dog Walk

More information is 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 a 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 Pet Law Amendment 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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About 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 yell.com who lists pet charity shops and animal shelters near you. Give the pet charity shop 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 pandemic restrictions.

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Animal Charities Helping Pet Strays

Autumn and Winter Bring Hardships For Stray Pets

Every year, pet charities take into their care huge numbers of stray pets during the autumn and 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 taking 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.
  • Petcheck.blog 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 which 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’ online 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.
  • If there is no pet 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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Smaller Pet Charities That Need Your Help

Street Vet was 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, perform 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 for 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.

Big Dog Walk Day Dogfest and Bought By Many pet insurers team 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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