Social & Housing

Since the launch of our community work in 2015, we have built proactive relationships with external organisations so that we can broaden our support network for pet owners in our local area.

In the first 17 months of our community support program from 2015 up to February 2017, 102 dogs and cats sadly required rehoming from animal hoarding cases in Carlisle alone. Such work continues to this day and is often carried out in collaboration between Oak Tree Animals’ Charity, housing associations and social workers in Cumbria. 

Now we are in year 5 of our community program and each year, we are finding that the number of animals needing new homes (from overwhelmed and/or hoarding households) is reducing. This demonstrates that by carrying out regular interventions with housing associations, carers, mental health workers and other agencies, we are improving both human-animal relationships and animal welfare in our local area. Such progress can only be achieved by inter-organisational collaboration.

An insight into our community work

Our work can vary from supporting housing associations with difficult pet related case work (e.g. conflict with tenancy agreements), to providing interventions regarding animal hoarding cases.

Case study:

"In 2018 we were contacted by a housing association tenant who had previously refused to neuter their 18 cats. Although their tenancy agreement stated that they should have no more than two pets, they had continued to obtain more as the years went on. All cats were very much loved family pets and had indoor/outdoor access. Fast forward 3 months, the tenant contacted our community team as their cats had continued to breed and they now had an additional 13 kittens in their 2 bed terraced home. This brought their number of cats to 31. In addition to this, their housing association had received complaints about the situation by neighbours, the tenant was worried all of their cats would be taken away and now urgently needed Oak Tree’s help. 

Our team acted quickly, neutering all cats which were old enough to prevent the problem from developing further and, at the request of the tenant, the intake of 13 kittens so that our rehoming team could find appropriate homes for them.

Many of the kittens were malnourished as they had had to fight older kittens for milk. With no space to keep each mother and kittens separate in the home, our team witnessed one queen (just over one year old herself) feeding two litters at once. 10 kittens in total were fighting for her milk. 

On arrival at Oak Tree the younger kittens were confirmed to be 8 weeks old even though they appeared much younger due to malnutrition.  The kittens were treated for parasites and vaccinated and our team spent time socialising and litter training the kittens.  Soon they were ready for their forever homes. The remaining 18 cats in the property were neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and treated for flea and worms. Ongoing support and advice was given to the tenant along with their housing association on how to best move forward with a multi-pet house hold, ensuring that the animals' welfare were not being compromised.  

Sadly, prior to our intervention, this case had gotten out of hand. With early intervention and collaboration between organisations such as yours and Oak Tree Animals’ Charity, we can prevent cases such as this from developing."

We strive to offer appropriate solutions for both organisation and pet owner, with animal relinquishment being the absolute last option.

A relationship with Oak Tree will provide your organisation with the support and information required to ensure that the health and wellbeing of both animal and owner is not compromised. Our community team will provide access to support pet owners in need.

A number of ways in which our community department can support a housing association tenant, service user or client are:

  • Animal hoarding interventions 
  • Stray cat information and support
  • “Trap Neuter and Return” of feral cats
  • Low cost dog and cat neutering for low income households 
  • Emergency pet food parcels / referral support
  • Drop in advice clinics in targeted areas 
  • Pets In Rentals advice – You can find more information about our Pets In Rentals scheme here
  • A Helping Paw – Supporting pet owners who are homeless or fleeing domestic abuse. You can find more information about our “A Helping Paw” scheme here.
  • Generic Advice for owners struggling with pet related husbandry, medical or behavioural issues – this can be via referral from your organisation 

For further information please speak with our Community Team on 01228 560082 extension 228 |

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