Directly Helping More Dogs and Cats in Need

Through innovation, service expansion and continuous improvement.

HERE FOR EVERY
DOG AND CAT

Battersea directly helped 3,002 dogs and 2,334 cats in 2019, even with the challenge of refurbishment works impacting capacity at times. In 2019, 26% of dogs and 27% of cats were strays. 485 stray dogs were received from Local Authority dog wardens and another 290 were brought in by members of the public. However, there was a reduction in stray cats brought to our centres.

The number of puppies received was 196 (a decrease of 53% since 2015), and the number of kittens received was 38% lower than in 2015. This suggests that the number of young animals being bought and sold online on websites such as Gumtree and Facebook continues to grow. Of dogs brought to Battersea last year by their owner, 20% were originally bought online. It’s often when owners are faced with unexpected veterinary or behavioural issues that rescue centres are left to pick up the pieces.

In 2019 we implemented a new digital advertising strategy to interrupt the online journeys of people searching to buy a pet, and promote the benefits of rehoming instead. This innovative project led to our Digital team picking up the Drum Search Award.

We aim to find the best possible outcome for every dog and cat we receive. In 2019, we successfully reunited or rehomed 83% of dogs and 94% of cats that came to us.

CASE STUDY - PARTNERING WITH STREETVET

Partnering with StreetVet to help more pets in need

PARTNERING WITH STREET VET

In October we were pleased to announce a new partnership with StreetVet, a charity that provides veterinary care to animals belonging to homeless people. The partnership will see Battersea provide StreetVet with operational and logistical support, including expert advice from its staff, clinical support and kennel space for animals in urgent need of care. Victims of the UK homelessness epidemic often have scant support, except for, in a growing number of cases, the companionship of their pets.

Sarah was unexpectedly made homeless with her beautiful Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Lola, who had been by her side since she was a small puppy. Lola meant the world to Sarah and she faced a heart-breaking decision when she was offered temporary Local Authority accommodation but was told she couldn’t take Lola with her.

Luckily, a family member had connections to StreetVet and made contact on Sarah’s behalf. With Battersea’s help, StreetVet was able to arrange temporary care for Lola at our London centre while Sarah got back on her feet and found a new, permanent place to live. Eventually, Sarah was happily reunited with Lola. She says, “I’m so very grateful to all at Battersea and StreetVet for taking care of our precious girl.

Average Stay Infographic

HOME FROM HOME

We recognise the need to offer those looking for a pet the ease and convenience provided by popular classifieds websites. In 2019, much work took place to refine our operating models and harness technological opportunities to ensure that bringing in and rehoming a Battersea animal is as straightforward, quick and convenient as possible.

Work included the rollout of a new online rehoming process to streamline the experience for our customers. An appointment booking system was put in place, and regular email and SMS updates kept customers engaged and informed at every step. We rehomed 4,180 animals last year, (2,076 dogs and 2,104 cats), across all three centres. This equates to an average of 12 a day: six dogs and six cats. Rehoming figures for dogs were down 10% from 2,301 in 2018 despite a 14% increase at our Windsor centre, while cat rehoming was down 2% from 2,140. The most significant factor influencing the decline in dog rehoming remained the mix of dogs available to meet customer demand, with fewer typically ‘popular’ breeds and a greater number of more challenging animals entering our care. We also had fewer animals available for rehoming at certain times due to ongoing refurbishment works to upgrade our clinic, cattery, and kennel facilities.

Battersea’s Working Dogs Manager placed 13 dogs in a range of outlets over the year, including with Thames Valley Police, Cumbria Police, the Ministry of Justice and HM Prison Service. Additionally, a new initiative was launched to provide specialised training for German Shepherd Dogs. Eighty-four cats were placed in rural outlets, such as farms and stable yards, and Battersea worked with Cats Protection to trap, neuter and release 43 feral cats in a colony in rural Sussex.

CLINICAL CARE

The popularity of brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog and cat breeds continues to be reflected in the number of airway surgeries performed by our team of 12 vets and 26 nurses. In 2019 we took in 58 Pugs, compared to 46 in 2018, and 47 French Bulldogs, compared to 40 in 2018.

We performed 77 Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) surgeries on dogs in 2019, compared to 62 in 2018. These dogs often endure prolonged stays at Battersea as they frequently require multiple surgeries and complicated aftercare. Battersea continues to do all it can to raise awareness of how brachycephalic breeds often suffer the real cost of ‘beauty’ when their innate breathing difficulties require surgical intervention. In 2019 we achieved nationwide press coverage on this issue. Veterinary Director Shaun Opperman was interviewed or quoted in 26 press articles including the Jeremy Vine show, The Guardian, BBC World Service, Daily Telegraph, The Sun, Mail Online and BBC Radio 5 Live – reaching a total of 29 million people.

Surgeries Infographic

COMMUNITY SPIRIT

2019 saw the launch of our new Battersea Communities project, designed to bring Battersea to new audiences and enable more people to benefit from our services with greater ease and convenience. Our ‘Battersea Big Day Out’ event, to recruit volunteers from the local Guildford community and promote our range of services, was attended by over 1,000 animal lovers. The event also introduced us to a range of local companies, charities and care providers to discuss joint working.

In each Battersea Community we’re establishing a network of Community Rehoming Volunteers. They will provide direct ‘home to home’ rehoming of our dogs and cats, and remove the need for potential pet owners to visit one of our centres.

It’s anticipated that each Community will help at least 100 dogs and cats every year.

BUILDING A BETTER FUTURE

Several building projects have been undertaken across all three of Battersea’s centres throughout 2019, thanks to the generous support of our donors. These projects will provide our staff, volunteers and animals with improved facilities that support the highest standards of animal welfare and infection control. Ongoing site developments during 2019 included:

LONDON

A new hydrotherapy centre and specialist facilities to help dogs with rehabilitation from serious injuries and surgery.

OLD WINDSOR

Construction of a brand-new kennel block (pictured above) that includes a dedicated maternity area and puppy paddock, improved outdoor paddocks and chill-out rooms.

BRANDS HATCH

Refurbishment of public kennels and cattery pens, and the introduction of larger kennel spaces for dog socialising.