DEFRA Rehoming Update

Although there have been some changes to DEFRA guidelines relating to rescue centres we have decided not to resume our rehoming process at this time.

The new DEFRA guidelines only allow for ‘virtual’ rehoming which means that there are only online meetings between pet and owner prior to adoption and we feel that this does not allow us to fulfil our duty of care to our animals and their new families. There are also stringent procedures to adhere to at the point of adoption which we feel could be distressing to all involved.

One of our key principals to ensure long term success for each animal we rehome is that physical meetings take place at the Shelter prior to adoption which allow the pet to bond with their potential adopter and vice versa.

With this in mind we do not feel we can effectively carry out a responsible rehoming service until we can safely host these meetings on site. As always the wellbeing of our staff and animals is our top priority.

We look forward to resuming our rehoming services as soon as practically possible. In the meantime, if you would like to offer a forever home to one of our pets, please email one of the following addresses and we will respond when things are back to normal:

dogs@gawa.org.uk
smallanimals@gawa.org.uk
cats@gawa.org.uk

Thank you for your continued support.

Media Release 22nd April 2020

Cheltenham Animal Shelter hit by income loss during coronavirus crisis

Animals lovers at Cheltenham Animal Shelter are appealing for public support during the current coronavirus crisis as the charity reports income losses of more than £1,000 per day.

The charity on Gardners Lane, which looks after more than 600 abandoned and surrendered dogs, cats and small animals every year, has had to cancel its major public fundraising activities including a Spring dog walk, Easter holiday animal days for children, hosting a pet show at the Tewkesbury Big Weekend in May and the large scale community open day in July.

Furthermore, the shelter is suffering from the closure of its grooming and boarding business and charity shop of which provide essential income to enable the shelter to stay open.

With the lockdown extended for at least three weeks, the charity is concerned about the current impact of the loss of income and the potential costs associated with an influx of new arrivals once lockdown conditions are lifted.

General Manager, Peter Newcombe said: “We have been doing everything we can to date to ensure that the animals in our care continue to receive the best possible care and lots of love and attention. The core animal care team are still working onsite as keyworkers, supported by a network of essential staff working from home to ensure that the administration and management of the charity day-by-day continues.

“But to be completely honest, it’s getting harder week-by-week as the amount of income we are losing starts to add up to tens of thousands of pounds and we have to cancel more events and fundraising activities.

“Our core rehoming business is on hold during the pandemic, as we cannot have members of the public on our site to view or meet the animals, and while the care team are doing an excellent job, we are very conscious that its not ideal to have pets living in kennels and pens waiting for homes indefinitely.

“Fostering animals is not an option while the site is locked down and we are unable to host meet-and-greets or carry out home checks. We also know that is unsettling and stressful for the animals who can take weeks to settle in a new environment, only to be returned at the end of the foster period.

“We have had to halt the admission of new animals except for emergency cases, such as dogs that may be brought to us by the police. Once we are able to reopen, the crisis isn’t over as we anticipate that we may see many more animals up for rehoming, as people may struggle to look after their pets due to a change in financial circumstances or families that are affected by the stress of the lockdown period.

“We have had a fantastic initial response from the general public on social media, who have to date donated more than £9,000 to help us to continue to look after the animals currently in our care, but we need to ask for more at this unprecedented and unpredictable time.”

The charity has launched an Urgent Care Appeal and is appealing for help from the public and local businesses.

“Sadly, the latest measures announced by the government to support frontline charities with £750 million during the coronavirus pandemic is unlikely to benefit animal charities,” says Cheltenham Animal Shelter’s Head of Fundraising, Alison Jarvis.

“While our income has drastically reduced, the length of stay for every animal in our care has increased by a minimum of six weeks costing us more in food, care and medical bills.

“We are extremely grateful for the phenomenal support and generosity we receive from our local community and would like to once again ask our kind supporters to consider a donation, however small, to help get us through the coming weeks and months ahead.”

Donations can be made via the charity’s website by visiting www.gawa.org.uk/make-a-donation or by post to Urgent Care Appeal, Fundraising Department, Cheltenham Animal Shelter, Gardners Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 9JW.

Individuals or businesses who would like to discuss raising money for the charity are invited to get in touch by emailing fundraising@gawa.org.uk

The Gloucestershire Animal Welfare Association and Cheltenham Animal Shelter has been helping animals since 1926. The charity rescues and rehomes around 600 unwanted, surrendered and abandoned cats, dogs and small animals from across Gloucestershire every year, at a cost of more than £650,000. Receiving no government funding, the Shelter relies on donations from the public and the generosity of local businesses and grant-making trusts. For more information about Cheltenham Animal Shelter, visit www.gawa.org.uk

Educational Packs

We have created three education packs to help children find out about understanding and looking after cats, dogs and small animals. Each fun learning resource is aimed at youngsters from five years old and contains craft activities, puzzles and educational worksheets.

We would be very grateful if you would consider a small donation to our Urgent Care Appeal in return for downloading these free resources.

We thank you for your continued support and hope these packs stimulate conversation and creativity!

Cheltenham Animal Shelter – Coronavirus Update

As of close of business on 24 March, to comply with government advice, we have closed Cheltenham Animal Shelter to the public until further notice.

Our priority, as always, is to ensure we are able to deliver the very best care to our animals and to protect our staff and volunteers. While our Animal Care Team will be coming in to take care of our animals, the reception and CASvets are closed to visitors. Please see the separate CASVet update below for more information.

You can telephone Reception Monday to Friday between 10am – 12pm and 2pm – 3pm. Email queries sent to reception@gawa.org.uk will be answered as soon as possible.

We regret that we are unable to take animal rehoming applications by phone at the moment but if you would like to express an interest in offering a loving forever home to one of our pets, please email one of the following addresses and we will respond when things are back to normal:

dogs@gawa.org.uk
smallanimals@gawa.org.uk
cats@gawa.org.uk

We have stopped all new animal intakes (except for emergencies) for the time being. If you have an emergency please contact Reception.

If you need advice about doggy behaviour then our Behaviourist Rosie is offering a 30 minute telephone consultation with a written report in the post for £20. If you would like to book please email behaviour@gawa.org.uk.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept any charity shop donations at this time but we would still be grateful for animal food, clean blankets, towels, duvets (non-feather) and sheets for the Shelter animals. Please leave your donations in the green and white shed next to the Reception entrance, being mindful to respect social distancing.  We are not able to accept pillows, cushions or sleeping bags.

Day Creche facilities remain open for key workers.

Thank you for your understanding and please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.

Doggy boredom busters during self-isolation

Playing simple ball games in the garden can keep your dog happy

A period of isolation can feel stressful and your dog can provide a source of comfort and company.

A family member, friend or professional dog-walker may be able to help with daily walks if you are unwell, but you might also find the following advice helpful for keeping canine friends occupied if you have to adapt your daily routine.

Scent games are a great way of keeping your dog occupied and mentally stimulated. We have listed a few fun scent activities to try with your dog.

Find It – Take a medium to large sized treat, show it to your dog and throw it a short distance away. Praise your dog for finding the treat. Once your dog has got the hang of the game you can add the words ‘find it’ as you are about to throw the treat!

Tracking – Set up 5 large treats in a line (your track) and allow your dog to sniff out and eat the treats as they go along the track. Once your dog gets the hang of this, you can increase the difficulty by placing the treats in grass, using smaller treats or spacing the treats out more.

Treasure Hunt – A bit like the dog friendly version of an Easter egg hunt, you can hide your dogs favourite toys, snacks and enrichment items for them to sniff out. Utilizing bushes, trees and garden objects you can make the hunt as challenging as you like. This is a great gentle but fun activity to tire out golden oldies and entertain cooped up pooches.

Brain Games – Make mealtimes fun for your dog by utilizing enrichment toys such as Kong’s, Lick – E- Mats, activity balls and snuffle mats. You can freeze the Kong’s to make them more of a challenge for your dog, or hide the items in a cardboard box for your dog to rip apart and scavenge the goods within!

Here are some more enrichment activities and wellbeing suggestions from our animal behaviourist:

  • Frozen enrichment toys are great, long-lasting treats that can act as a boredom buster – Kongs or Lick E Mats topped up with tasty food and put in the freezer are ideal for this.
  • Snuffle mats provide a fantastic scatter feeding tool and can provide much needed mental stimulation, they are easy to make and can also be purchased online. Scattering some of your the dog’s daily food allowance into the garden can be another useful scenting activity and keep them occupied.
  • Mini training sessions using positive reinforcement are a brilliant way to keep your dog’s brain active and spread out throughout the day can help tackle afternoon restlessness!
  • Games can be played in the garden as opposed to on a walk to keep dogs tired and fulfilled. High adrenaline ball games may be best to avoid as they can cause a surge of energy that cannot be fully released which can cause unwanted behaviours to be displayed.
  • Using a stress relief aid such as Pet Remedy or Adaptil products can help relieve some anxiety associated with a sudden change of routine.

Top tip – it is important to continue leaving your dog for short periods of time if this is their usual routine to prevent separation anxiety occurring when you head back to work. This could be as simple as going upstairs for half an hour or popping out into the garden.

If you are concerned about your dog’s behaviour and would like some advice then Rosie our Behaviourist is offering a 30 minute telephone consultation with a written report in the post for £20. If you would like to book please email behaviour@gawa.org.uk

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