My visit to Battersea Cats and Dogs home this week allowed me to meet the staff and volunteers who truly are doing a sterling job in caring for all these animals that have been abandoned or abused by their owners.
I was greeted by some boisterous (and rather noisy) dogs all keen for my attention and some rather nonchalant cats. From huge brooding hounds to tiny, yappy puppies, it was quite a cacophony. I was even surprised to see a little greying terrier making quite a racket over to the left-side of the kennels. I was hoping his name would have been Jeremy or Jezza, but that was perhaps too much political parody to hope for.
With nearly 7,000 animals cared for here every year, it is such a delight to be invited by Peter Laurie, their Deputy CEO and a constituent from East Surrey, to see first-hand the fantastic work this charity has been doing. I was also really interested to hear about the work they were doing in local communities and even across the prison estate – we’ve been taking in stray dogs to train to be placed across different locations.
As I was taken on a tour of the centre I learnt a great deal about what happens when animals arrive here, how they are processed and assessed, the kind of treatment they receive and even the training they get. While walking around we ran into Barney, a big and bubbly Labrador recovering from an operation on his leg and Olympia, a cat that was quite shy but slowly opened up after a quick stroke. It really was quite moving to hear about some of the stories behind how these animals ended up here, but they couldn’t have hoped for more caring and attentive staff.
We’ve always been tough on animal cruelty in this country and the recent announcement at the Conservative Party Conference of a potential reinforcing of the laws adds to this.
This combined with a near total ban on the ivory trade really makes a statement that cruelty to, and the exploitation of, animals like this will not be tolerated under this government.
Thank you, Peter, the staff and volunteers at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home and the animals themselves for a fantastic afternoon.