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PPCT helps fund ground-breaking adoption centre at Cats Protection Exeter

close up of a young black and white cat

Building works are due to start on a brand new adoption centre at Cats Protection Exeter.

cats protection exeter logoPetplan Charitable Trust (PPCT) made a donation towards the adoption centre which is set to be the most progressive among the charity’s 37 centres.

There will be 65 pens where cats will receive day-to-day care, plus 16 maternity and isolation pens. The pens will provide temporary accommodation for around 750 cats a year.

It’s not just the cats that will benefit from the new facilities. Volunteers and staff will be able to enjoy improved working areas. The centre will also provide an improved adopter experience with better accessibility and more parking. These measures should see animals spending less time in care before moving on to their new forever homes.

The build has been funded by a bequest from the charity’s ex-Chairman Philip Wood, legacies from the charity’s Exeter and East Devon Branches as well as the donation from Petplan Charitable Trust.

“This is an extremely exciting time for us,” says Mark Magee, Manager, Cats Protection Exeter. “The rebuild has been planned for a long time and it is truly wonderful to have reached this first milestone. We are especially grateful for the legacies and donations which have made it possible and we are looking forward to honouring each of our kind donors whose generosity will have a lasting impact on cat welfare in Devon.

“The new centre will make a huge difference to cats, volunteers, staff and adopters alike. From the moment a cat arrives in care to the moment they go home, our trailblazing new centre will create the best possible experience for all involved. We’re thrilled that our centre has been chosen to be the first example a new kind of Cats Protection centre, uniting all the very best aspects of centres built to this point, shaping cat care not only locally but across the UK.”

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PPCT donates £5000 towards new vet practice at Cardiff Dogs Home

Girl with red hair and rescue dog Emily at Cardiff Dogs Home

Petplan Charitable Trust has donated £5000 towards a brand new veterinary care centre at Cardiff Dogs Home (CDH).

The practice will provide on-site care for CDC’s rescue animals as well as offering affordable basic vet care and neutering to pets in the local community.

“We are over the moon to have received an extremely generous donation of £5,000 from PetPlan towards building a veterinary practice on-site at Cardiff Dogs Home,” says Toria Acreman, Trustee (main image, pictured with canine friend Emily).

“Not only will the practice mean our resident dogs have access to high quality veterinary care when they need it but we will be able to open the service up to pet owners in the local community to offer affordable basic healthcare and neutering. This donation will have benefit so many dogs for years to come and we are are grateful for PetPlan’s support.”

Having a veterinary centre on-site means that dogs coming to the home can be health-checked as soon as possible. Until now, it could take up to a week for this to happen. Other benefits include prompt vaccinations, as well as the ability to treat any conditions the dogs might arrive with.

a collage of Cardiff Dogs Home trustees each hugging a dog

Cardiff Dogs Home, The Rescue Hotel trustees L-R Toria, Fraser, Matt, Greta, Alex

CDC takes in a large number of ex-breeding French Bulldogs

Neutering is a really important part of the work they do. CDC takes in a large number of French Bulldogs that have been used for breeding. The puppies are highly sought after and therefore valuable to breeders, so it’s critical that the rescue dogs are neutered so cannot be used for breeding once they leave the home.

Cardiff Dogs Home is council-run and, as such, is only required to provide basic care and vet services. The facility has 44 kennels with the the capacity to take in 1000 dogs a year. In 2019, The Rescue Hotel was set up to help support the work of the CDH with funding, items and services. The Rescue Hotel gained charitable status in April 2020.

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Our Special Friends helps fund urgent operation for rescue dog Shelly

Sean and rescue dog Shelly Our Special Friends

When you see Sean and Shelly together, it’s hard to say who rescued who.

OUr Special Friends OSF logoWhen rescue dog Shelly came into Sean’s life, he was unable to work owing to mental ill health. Suffering from anxiety and depression, he rarely ventured outside. Looking at him now, it’s clear that Shelly has transformed his life. They go out together on walks in the forest near his home and have made friends with other dog walkers. Sean’s mental health has improved and he has even been able to reduce his medication.

But, this was all put into jeopardy when Shelly injured her leg while playing with another dog. Find out what happened, here.

Founded by Dr Belinda Johnston, Our Special Friends provides practical support to vulnerable people in challenging circumstances. This could take the form of financial assistance with veterinary bills to providing animal companionship. Petplan Charitable Trust has supported the charity from its inception with a number of grants.

“We are truly grateful to the Petplan Charitable Trust for your generous grant of £5,000 to Our Special Friends towards our Animal Welfare Support Fund,” says Johnston.

“Over the last year we have used the fund to contribute towards the costs of veterinary and non-veterinary care of pets where owners are facing financial difficulty. In 2020, we contributed to 34 cases, with a total of 31 dogs and 7 cats benefiting from the Fund as some cases included more than one pet. We find that when we offer part-funding of the treatment, clients are profoundly grateful and are often able to take responsibility for the remaining costs. In several cases the animals would not have received the necessary care without our intervention.”

Find out more about the work of Our Special Friends, here

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New exercise barn enriches animals’ lives at Woodside Sanctuary

exterior of new exercise barn at woodside sanctuary

Woodside Sanctuary has completed a brand new exercise barn thanks to funding from Petplan Charitable Trust.

woodside sanctuary logoThe barn is an all-weather space for providing enrichment to the many animals in their care. According to the charity’s Lisa Darcy, the new facility has been used every day from the moment it was ready.

“It is as good as we had hoped for the exercising and enrichment of dogs but we have, in fact, used it for rabbits, too. The chickens are also on the list for a good run around as they themselves are in lockdown at present (owing to the current bird flu restrictions). We can’t wait to welcome visitors back to us when meeting potential adoptive dogs,” she added.

The build faced a number of challenges

The build at Woodside Sanctuary was not without its challenges including the on/off nature of the construction process during the pandemic. Avoiding damage to services was another hurdle to overcome.

“We have a major water pipe going through the centre of our land, with a gas mains not far away and overhead electricity pylons,” explains Darcy. “Work had to be slow and careful when building the barn foundations. These were completed by the end of July. The steels started to arrive on site in August and we were able to really see and feel the size of the barn for the first time. This is when we really got excited.”

woodside sanctuary barn under constructionOver the next three months the walls went up and the roof was finally on. There was a little hold up over winter while the rendering was completed and the concrete floor laid. The building was finally completed early in 2021.

Based in Plymouth, the roots of what is now Woodside Sanctuary can be traced back to 1977. Carol Bowles and her team were responding to the growing number of unwanted animals in the area being destroyed. A ramshackle collection of sheds has slowly been transformed over the years into a purpose-built modern facility with a living grass roof. The charity has also created environmentally-friendly reed bed ponds which deal with the excess run off water and waste from the sanctuary. These have proved a magnet for native wildlife and plants.

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Equine Covid Fund helps with vet care and feed at Dean Farm Trust

two donkeys in a field at dean farm trust

High feed prices and the cost of vet care has put a real strain on charities like Dean Farm Trust.

dean farm trust animal sanctuary logoThe animal sanctuary, based near Chepstow, rescues a wide variety of animals including miniature Shetland ponies, Exmoor ponies, donkeys, pigs, sheep and ex-battery hens. However, the pandemic has made fundraising extremely difficult since the first lockdown. Yet, the cost of basic necessitites such as feed and bedding has gone through the roof. Straw and hay prices are close to double what they were last winter.

Petplan Charitable Trust recognised this emerging crisis early on and acted quickly to launch our Covid 19 Equine Rescues Emergency Fund. Aimed at smaller charities, we are delighted to have been able to support the vital work of rescue centres such as Dean Farm Trust. Many of these organisations are totally reliant on volunteers, many of whom have had to stand down during the pandemic. This has left a skeleton staff continuing to battle on to meet the needs of their animals in very challenging circumstances.

vet performs tooth extraction on black pony in head brace at dean farm trust. Brown pony looks on.

Dean Farm Trust: Brambles has tooth extracted while Sammy looks on


“Your Emergency Fund with our vets bills for our equines has really helped and meant our ponies that have needed further treatments have received them,” says Mary Frankland, Dean Farm Trust Founder and Director.

“We have also had delivery of more straw and hay to help us through these very challenging winter months. Straw this year is extremely expensive so your emergency fund was so much appreciated. All of our equines are having hay and again your funds have helped these essential costs.

“We are still not open to the public due to COVID -19 and are currently applying for funding to help us through these months.”

Other rescue centres that have benefitted from our equine emergency fund include Crosskennan Lane in Northern Ireland and Oak Tree Animals  in Carlisle.

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PPCT grant supports new Dogs Trust rescue facility in Wales

dogs trust wales banner

A brand new Dogs Trust rescue centre in Wales has received funding from Petplan Charitable Trust (PPCT).

dogs trust logoDogs Trust Cardiff is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in April 2021. The PPCT donation will pay for one of the smart new kennels in the booked kennels block. The block (below right) will provide accommodation for dogs ready to join their new owners. These animals will also have exlusive access to their very own outdoor spaces.

The new site will feature a whole range of facilities including a hydrotherapy suite, various exercise enclosures and an area especially for puppies.

Dogs with more complex needs are also being catered for.aerial view of booked kennels block at Dogs Trust Cardiff They will have access to four rehabilitation kennels with individual compounds and runs for dogs that need more space. This will allow the charity’s specialist staff to work with those animals in situ.

Further facilities are set to include a laundry room, food preparation area, a grooming room and training rooms.

Read more about the new Dogs Trust facility in South Wales here

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Thieves continue to target dogs and puppies as prices soar

cocker spaniel in crate looks sad - dog theft

The surge in dog theft seen last year looks set to continue in 2021.

The Trust is urging pet owners to remain vigilant during this latest lockdown and beyond. Back in October, the BBC reported that 2019 was the ‘worst ever’ year for dog theft. The figures make for depressing reading. The number of dogs being stolen is reported to have risen 250% since the start of the pandemic. This escalation is being linked to the boom in demand for companion pets when people were furloughed or began working from home. In turn, this has pushed up prices, attracting thieves keen to capitalise on what has become a very lucrative market.

Many adult females are believed to be targeted for breeding stock on puppy farms. Puppies of some breeds have more than doubled in value. While the majority of thieves target kennels, there are numerous accounts of individual dogs being stolen from gardens, or even snatched when out walking with their owner. Thieves are also increasingly using violence.

The RSPCA advises owners to take extra precautions to deter dog theft including insuring their pets are neutered, microchipped and wear a collar with contact details. Owners are also being urged to ensure gardens are secure and to avoid leaving their dogs unattended.

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PPCT grant helps injured and retired greyhounds in Wales

hector greyhound rescue wales

A PPCT grant has enabled Greyhound Rescue Wales to save and rehabilitate dogs whose lives were at risk.

greyhound rescue logo walesBased in South Wales, the greyhound rescue charity steps in when racing dogs are retired or injured on the track.

This means that greyhounds who retire from and/or suffer career ending, dire injuries while racing at the remaining independent track in Wales (Valley Stadium), can be rescued and given the chance of a new life as a family pet.

Hector (main image) came into the care of Greyhound Rescue Wales in July 2019 after a serious fall whilst racing. He required treatment at the track initially and then at the veterinary surgery. Hector needed a plate inserted to stabilise his foreleg fracture. According to the charity, fees for Hector’s treatment were £6,619.22.

three rescued greyhounds with missing legsHector’s rescue was part of an initiative the charity set up in 2004 called the Last Hope Fund. The scheme was established after a greyhound ‘Last Hope’ was found on a mountainside in South Wales. The dog had been shot through the head with a bolt gun and had had his ears removed to hinder identification. Greyhound Rescue Wales worked with the police and RSPCA Cymru to identify the greyhound and his owner who was successfully prosecuted.

Collaborating with Hope Rescue to save greyhounds

Another charity that PPCT supports, Hope Rescue, has collaborated closely with GRW for over 16 years. Both based in South Wales, they support each other’s work whenever possible. GRW are part of the “Cross-Rescue Greyhound Partnership” led by Hope Rescue. Volunteers attend as many race meetings as possible to collect greyhounds retired by their trainers. The dogs are accommodated in their rescue centre until they may be transferred to partner rescues.

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is also a key partner in this project and has accepted numbers of greyhounds originating from Valley Stadium, as have Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, Forever Hounds Trust and Gables Farm.

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Revamped kennels furry popular with residents at Hope Rescue

rescue dog in kennels resting on bed with soft toys

The four-legged residents at Hope Rescue are enjoying newly tiled kennels thanks to a PPCT grant.

white dog asleep on cosy bed at hope rescue kennelsWith winter approaching, the staff were eager to get the new flooring installed. The team are delighted with the result, as are the dogs who look very at home in their smart new kennels.

“Thank you so much,” says the team at Hope Rescue. “This has made a huge difference. The original concrete floors were difficult to clean due to the uneven surface. The new tiled floors are much easier to clean, so takes less time for the staff and volunteers whilst also reducing biohazard risks.”

The project marks a positive end to a stressful year for the charity. Its charity shop in Pontypridd, South Wales, was devastated by flooding when Storm Dennis hit the UK in February. Unable to open while the clean-up took place, they lost vital revenue. Weeks black dog lying on purple rug at hope rescue kennelslater, the whole country was in lockdown and charities across the UK were facing an uncertain future as key fundraising events had to be cancelled.

“It has been a difficult year and the completion of this project has brought some much-needed cheer to the team,” says the charity. “As you can see, our dogs fully approve too!”

Read about Hope Rescue’s project to help greyhounds, here

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Distressed equines rescued by Crosskennan Lane thanks to PPCT emergency fund

Krystal a beautiful chestnut horse stands in grassy field at Crosskennan Lane

Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary in Antrim, Northern Ireland, has had its hands full with equine rescues during the pandemic.

Crosskennan lane Animal Sanctuary logoWhen funds ran low, Crosskennan Lane applied for a grant to PPCT’s Equine Rescues Emergency Fund. This allowed them to step in and save two horses and a pony in need. Locating the pony, Gabriel, proved a mammoth task in itself as the address given didn’t exist. You can read about how Gabriel was found, here.

Chica had a severe wound on her cheek (hence her name) and Cali was malnourished. Chica’s wound was dealt with immediately but worse news was to come. It soon became apparent that she was suffering from liver damage. You can find out more about Chica here.

Cali is a one year old who had scars that suggested she had been used for racing. She is recovering well.

“One month on and she is such a sweetheart, her scars are healing up and are hidden beneath her winter coat which is starting come in,” says Carol from Crosskennan Lane.

Cali a very thin chestnut horse with ribs showingThe charity is one of many smaller equine rescue centres that have benefitted from the emergency fund. It was set up at pace by PPCT’s chairman David Simpson in collaboration with World Horse Welfare and National Equine Welfare Council (NEWC). Mindful of the high costs involved in rescuing, treating and caring for horses, the Trust has been quick to release funds. The final round of applications is currently open. Apply now. Applications close on Friday 15th January 2021.

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