Wednesday 12 December 2012

Staff at RSPCA Great Ayton Animal Centre in Middlesbrough are urging people not to buy animals as gifts this Christmas, and consider sponsoring a kennel, cat pen or rabbit run instead.


The animal centre – which looks after some of the most cruelly-treated and neglected animals in the North East including dogs, cats and rabbits – is hoping the sponsorship scheme will make a good present for animal lovers and raise some much needed funds.


Manager Debbie Fowle said:  “People are often drawn to buying animals as gifts for loved ones, but in far too many cases are uniformed about the animal itself, or more significantly, whether its new owner can properly care for it.


“Pets don’t make good presents – but sponsoring a safe haven for those in our care definitely does.


“We hope the scheme will raise some much needed funds to make sure the animals have everything they need and, ultimately, are able to get that second chance at a forever home.”


You can sign up for yourself, as a gift or in memory of a loved one – perhaps even a four-legged one – from as little as £3 per month. Unlike other sponsorship schemes, Safe Haven means that you are contributing to the care of many different animals each year.


Debbie said: “We often have children coming into reception pleading with their parents to buy them a dog, but we hope that by sponsoring a kennel, they will get some of the benefits without the time, space or financial commitments owning a pet requires.”


Information on the Safe Haven scheme is available by calling the centre on 0300 123 0743 or emailing regional fundraising manager Amy Smith on


The centre is also desperate for donations of blankets, toys and food for the animals. They are especially in need of agility equipment for the dogs, scratching poles for the cats and hard-wearing toys for the rabbits. All donations are very gratefully received.


The centre, on Yarm Lane, Great Ayton, is open between 11.30am – 3pm every day except Wednesday when it is closed to the public.