Abandoned and abused pets could lose vital support in finding a new home after an animal rescue center announced it may close due to financial pressures.
The RSPCA Warrington, Halton and St Helens (RSPCA-WHS) said it is struggling to make ends meet to cover the £28,000 revenue each month needed to stay open. Any closure would mean the center would miss out on its 40th birthday next year and an uncertain future for the dogs and cats who are helped on their way to a new home each year.
Branch staff and volunteers specialize in helping animals rescued by RSPCA inspectors. An RSPCA-WHS spokeswoman said the team plays an important role in providing medical and behavioral rehabilitation and working with foster families and residents to find “truly loving forever homes”.
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Previous animals that have benefited include Simba, an American Akita, who endured a “really traumatic start to life.”
Living outside without shelter, Simba had very little positive human interaction due to the neglect he suffered at the hands of his owner.
He was incredibly nervous around humans and only after support from the branch staff did he learn to trust people again.
The spokeswoman said that thanks to the love and expertise of the RSPCA centre, Simba is now in his safe forever home, enjoying long daily adventures in the woods and afternoon naps on the sofa.
He said many more animals who have been victims of “terrible abuse” have had a fresh start in life at the shelter.
Running costs include the “long” process of finding foster homes and keeping its 12 kennels and 18 cat pens warm, plus veterinary care, neutering and microchipping.
It also has to fund behavioral training to help animals overcome the trauma of neglect and abuse.
Animals housed at the center have access to a cat play room, a dog lounge, a grooming room, an exercise paddock and a veterinary suite, which is visited twice a week by a veterinary surgeon.
The average stay for a dog in the rescue kennels is 93 days and cats can stay up to 180 days waiting for someone to take them in.
The challenges of the pandemic and rising costs have brought “extreme financial difficulties” to the branch, which is funded separately from the RSPCA nationally and generates its own income.
The branch has already had to close the welfare clinic it ran on Windmill Street in Runcorn, which offered free medical care for animals.
It has now launched a Save Our Shelter flash appeal and called on individuals, community groups, businesses and other organizations to help secure the charity’s future.
Andrew Heyes, Chairman of the RSPCA Warrington, Halton and St Helens Trustees, said: “We have been extremely fortunate to have been left with some great legacies and some more modest ones and tied us down.
“Over the last four years there have been some £100,000 bequests that have allowed us to weather the storm for so long.
“But that is not the case now and we are struggling to get vital funding.”
There are several ways to support the appeal.
The branch said it’s best to sign up to make a regular donation or a one-time donation and that every penny counts.
Alternatively, donate online by visiting rspca-whs.org.uk/save-our-shelter/ Or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Readers who wish to support the campaign can also send a check or bring cash donations to the RSPCA Warrington, Halton and St Helens branch at Slutchers Lane, Warrington, WA1 1NA, business hours 10am-4pm, seven days a week.
RSPCA-WHS is also on social media and is a registered charity with the Charity Commission, number 232259.