Our Community Team
In September 2015 the charity began a pilot project working in the wider community to try and extend our reach and impact.
Initially a couple of staff worked in their own time to carry out this work, but very quickly the results and need for this work meant that a dedicated staff member was allocated to work on it full time; in January 2016 the team was extended to 1.5 full time staff equivalent. By the close of November 2016, 14 months since commencing the pilot project, we had helped over 700 animals which would otherwise not have been assisted.
What do we do?
You may not see us very often as our work takes place off-site and is often outside normal working hours. Because of the sensitive nature of much of what we do, we cannot easily publicise it. Our regular work includes:
- Neutering and returning feral cats – we work with residents, landowners and the farming community to control feral cat colonies by the tried and tested method of Trap-Neuter-Return. Our team is well equipped, highly experienced and well trained. We’ve dealt with over 400 cats and kittens from more than 40 sites, achieving neuter rates of 99 to 100%. We have prevented the birth of more than 1800 feral kittens in this time. Much of our work is persuading landowners to collaborate and to abandon methods such as drowning or shooting, which are still practiced in our county.
- Home 2 Home and fast-track rehoming – we work to find new homes for socialised stray cats, dogs who are not suitable to come into our kennels, and all sorts of other cases. The community team has found new homes for more than dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens and even geese. Every animal rehomed through Home 2 Home gets the same level of behavioural and veterinary care as if it came into the charity.
- Working with animal hoarders – and those who have more animals than they can care for. This can mean a considerable amount of time being devoted to one group of animals over several weeks.
- Supporting the community during crises and emergencies – we supported pet owners during the floods of 2015, providing assistance to 19 animals and their owners and boarding 11 cats, 8 of whom stayed with us for rehoming.
- Finding places in other rehoming centres: during busy times, when the charity is unable to help, we help owners looking to give up their animals by securing spaces in other rehoming centres across the UK.
- Supporting pet owners at the Foodbank – we organise pet food donations via Asda Carlisle to be distributed via the Carlisle Foodbank, and we attend the foodbank fortnightly to give on-the-spot advice and guidance to any owners who need us.
- Supporting owners in crisis and those with behavioural or mental health difficulties to meet the needs of their animals on a temporary basis.
- Training other professionals – we have provided training in animal welfare issues and basic legislation to local housing officers, social services teams, and environmental health staff.
Our community work is only possible thanks to those who assist us regularly:
- Our vets: Eden Vets, Vets 4 Pets, and The Green Vets at Skelton, who constantly accommodate our random requests and often have to deal with animals in poor condition, or who have been abused or neglected.
- The professional bodies we work with who cheerfully tolerate us, especially Carlisle Foodbank, and Riverside Housing.
- The other reputable charities who help us out in all sorts of ways – Cats Protection and Dogs Trust for neutering voucher support; Cats Protection, The Mayhew and the RSPCA Manchester and Salford local branch for helping us out at times of dire need by accepting transfers of a number of cats and dogs from hoarding situations.
- Our Community Team’s animal fosterers – with a special mention to Angela Robinson and Janice Grindal for providing extra special care to some of the most needy.