A South West Wales RSPCA officer has been recognised with a special award for her service to animals.
Ellie West, RSPCA animal collection officer, has been recognised by the charity with the special Jeanne McBride Award, as part of its annual ‘Honours’ event.
ACO West has been involved in a series of high-profile and dramatic rescues and collections, as part of her work to keep animals in South West Wales safe.
She is one of 29 winners at the awards this year, and is one of a handful of RSPCA officers to be recognised, each of whom has gone the extra mile for animals.
Michael Ward, RSPCA interim Chief Executive Officer, said: “ACO Ellie West dedicates so much of her life to animals; and gives much of her personal time, as well as professional, to promoting their welfare.
”From rescuing a lost cat from Pembroke Castle, to rehabilitating otters, and saving a swan from a Swansea shopping centre, Ellie has dealt with some fascinating rescues; and clearly makes South West Wales a better place for animals to live.
“Ellie’s commitment and dedication to the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife is particularly impressive, and it’s no surprise to so often see her brilliant work featured in Wales and UK media.
“The RSPCA Jeanne McBride Award recognises Ellie’s special merit in carrying out her duties over the last year, for which I know her Chief Inspector, Romain DeKerchove is rightly proud.”
After receiving the award, Ms West said: “I’m so very touched to be recognised with this award, and very proud my work means so much to people – and hopefully the animals, too!
“But, as far as I’m concerned, I’m just doing my job. I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be doing this job, and to spend my time with so many amazing creatures.
“I love working with all animals, but wildlife is my biggest passion – and it was a great honour to support the rehabilitation and release of many wild animals throughout 2016.”
RSPCA Cymru has released a list of five of the RSPCA officer’s most noteworthy rescues, since the last RSPCA honours ceremony in 2016.
ACO Ellie West’s top five rescues:
Otter returned to the wild in Llandovery area (full story)
An otter was returned to the wild in the Llandovery area, following rehabilitation with RSPCA Cymru. When ACO West rescued the otter, she was very weak, quiet and extremely tired – and was struggling with a fever and dehydration. Video footage captured the moment the otter was returned to the wild by ACO West.
She said: “Happy endings like this are the best part of the job, and rescuing and rehabilitating animals like this is such an important part of what RSPCA Cymru does.”
Exhausted shopper swan rescued by RSPCA (full story)
An exhausted swan was rescued by RSPCA Cymru, after being found exhausted outside a Morfa shopping centre.
ACO West rescued the swan, who was returned to the wild after time in a specialist wildlife facility. Video footage shows the swan was returned to where she belongs.
She said: “The winter period is notoriously challenging for much of our wildlife, but it is a great relief that we were able to assist this swan and help her back to where she belongs.”
Dog straying for two years rescued by ACO West (full story)
A Carmarthenshire dog believed to have been straying for an incredible two-year period was rescued by RSPCA Cymru, after being hit by a car.
ACO West completed the rescue with RSPCA Inspector Keith Hogben.
Whitland PCSO Sarah Thomas said: “We can’t thank them enough for all the work they do with us. The fact that we all pulled together and worked as a team helped to save his life.”
Grey seal quartet returned to natural habitat after RSPCA rehabilitation (full story)
Four grey seals were released on the Pembroke Coast, near St. Brides Bay, after being rescued and rehabilitated by RSPCA Cymru.
The four seals had all been rescued separately across Wales over the last few months and were given around the clock care and rehabilitation at an RSPCA centre, before their return to the wild was supported by ACO West. Video footage is available.
Ms West said: “This is the best part of being a member of the RSPCA inspectorate – seeing animals back into their natural habitat.”
Henry the kitten saved at Pembroke Castle (full story)
In October, a terrified kitten was rescued by the RSPCA after becoming trapped 50 feet up a castle wall at Pembroke Castle.
RSPCA Cymru attended the scene to assess the cat’s situation – and worked with Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, who used rope lines to rescue, free and bring the scared kitten to safety.
The kitten was thought to be just three months old and was been nicknamed Henry – after King Henry VII, who was born at the castle.
Pembroke Castle manager Jon Williams said: “I don’t think anything has ever happened like this at the castle before.”
Henry was successfully re-homed from the RSPCA Llys Nini Animal Centre. Footage of the kitten at the Castle can be found here.
The RSPCA Honours ceremony was held on Saturday 17 June at The Law Society in London.
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