Giles Watling, Member of Parliament for Clacton, visited the National Animal Welfare Trust in Clacton. The centre was originally set up by Ann and Reg Sims in 1984 as Clacton Animal Aid was entrusted to the National Animal Welfare Trust in October 2011.
Giles was given a tour of the facility in which both dogs and cats are cared for until they are rehomed. This site has been operational throughout the pandemic providing first class care for the animals until they find their forever home. Over recent months, the volume of cats needing to be rehomed has been fairly consistent but the centre has seen a temporary reduction of dogs as the puppy market has soared online throughout this pandemic.
However, as with many charities at this difficult time, the National Animal Welfare Trust has had to find alternative methods of fundraising to ensure the centre can continue their great work. The trust has been utilising social media and online fundraising instead of the usual events they may have held. The centre has also been very fortunate as they have received local donations which all help keep the centre running.
NAWT Clacton Centre Manager, Lizzie Reffell said: "We really appreciate Giles taking the time to visit our centre and find out about the work we do rescuing and rehoming cats and dogs, especially during these challenging times. As a charity we are reliant on the support of the public, their donations keep us going, yet we don't know what the future holds for us with Covid-19 still having such an enormous impact on everyone's lives.
"We are not seeing the volume of dogs coming into our care that we are used to. We believe this is due to so many more people being at home and taking the opportunity to own a dog, with many pets being sold over the internet, often for extortionate prices. Selling a pet over the internet does come with its risks, for all concerned, the seller, the buyer and the animal. There are horror stories of pets being brought and used for bait, or dogs being passed from pillar to post. We have had dogs come into our care because the person buying the dog, with good intentions, has discovered they haven’t been given the full facts and that the dog isn’t actually good with children or other pets. We have also noticed of late more reports on social media of dogs being stolen, in fact our rescue centre in Watford had one of their dogs stolen recently thankfully we managed to get her back safely.
“All of this makes life challenging for rescue and rehoming charities, but we do believe at some point this situation will change, and those facing financial hardship will need their local rescue centre to care for and find a new home for the much-loved pet they sadly find they have to give up. And once again homeless and abandoned dogs and cats will need our help getting them back to good health, giving them love, care, rehabilitation and a second chance at finding a forever family. We never stop caring and we hope our amazing supporters will help us to continue that legacy."
“Animal welfare is a priority of mine and I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the centre. Seeing the facilities available, meeting some of the team and also the animals they have currently needing to be rehomed. The centre was much quieter than I was anticipating but the team advised me it is their firm belief that this is the calm before a very big storm. Lots of people have purchased puppies over the internet during lock down and have been able to spend lots of time with their new family member. However, in time as people return to their place of work and our ability to socialise returns, the responsibility and demands of a pet may be too much for some and they will be handed over to the centre to assist with their rehoming. It is then that the centre will be needed most, and the running costs of this centre need to be met to ensure it is there when the animals need it.
"I urge anyone with any donations of bedding, food or monetary donations to contact the National Animal Welfare Trust.”