At Battersea, we believe that
rehoming a rescue dog or cat really
does provide the very best possible
outcome, for both the animal and
their new owner. However, 2018
sadly saw the number of pets sold
online increasing. This can often
result in people ending up with an
animal they are unable to care for
medically or behaviourally, which
they then bring to a rescue centre
In response to this ongoing
challenge, Battersea implemented
various new ways to try and combat
the rise of pets being sold online.
By advertising on websites such as
Gumtree, we aimed to promote the
benefits of rescue animals across
the country and disrupt the problem
at its source. Our digital team also
used targeted advertising to direct
our online ads at people directly
searching for dogs and cats online.
Alongside this, we invested in
developing our online rehoming
processes to make applying
to rehome an animal as
straightforward as possible.
We also focused on developing the
skills of our customer service staff.
By the end of 2018, we were able
to ensure that our phone operators
were answering 90% of calls as
they came in.
Battersea refreshed its brand in
2018. Unveiled in April, the new
brand accompanied an ambitious
integrated marketing campaign,
including Battersea’s first brand
TV advert and content across our
digital platforms. Popular video
series such as Through the Catflap,
Made in Battersea, and What
They Did Next helped us grow
our social media following by
50%, reaching new audiences
of potential rehomers.
We want to ensure people think of
Battersea first when considering
acquiring a dog or cat. To support
this, we launched a new digital
advertising strategy in 2018,
designed to target people looking
for a new pet. This resulted in our
adverts being seen more than
42 million times online. Raising
awareness through marketing and
innovating our online platforms
also resulted in a 35% increase in
online donation income and a 50%
increase in visits to our online shop.
Battersea reached millions of
homes across the country thanks
to our award-winning ITV series
Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs.
Started in 2012, the series helps
ensure Battersea is a much-loved
household name. The total
amount of viewers for series
seven, programme repeats and
the Christmas Day Special, was a
staggering 73 million (up from 65
million in 2017).
As part of #ReadyToBeLoved, we took some of our rescue
dogs to relax on the sofas in the
windows of furniture stores on
Tottenham Court Road. Many new
potential rehomers were inspired to
consider the idea of welcoming a
dog into their home.
We also promoted the many benefits
of rescue animals to the public at
events such as Crufts, Discover
Dogs, Game Fair, Countryfile Live,
and the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
CASE STUDY - REAL LIFE RESCUE: TESS
REAL LIFE RESCUE: TESS
With a reputation that reaches well
beyond the boundaries of South East
England, many people will travel a long
way to rehome a Battersea animal.
But it’s not every day that a Battersea
dog or cat is rehomed to somewhere
quite as grand as Hunterston House.
The beautiful manor in rural Ayrshire,
Scotland, is used as a filming location
for programmes such as Outlander and
Jonathan Creek, and has had many
celebrity visitors grace its halls.
Fittingly, its newest resident, Tess the
Jack Russell Terrier, is not short of
star quality herself. Tess was handed
in to Battersea Old Windsor when
her previous owner’s circumstances
changed. The friendly and excitable
young Terrier spent several weeks in
kennels waiting for the perfect home.
Little did she know that her new home
would be a manor house more than
400 miles away.
Mary Ross works as a housekeeper
at Hunterston House and had been
searching for a dog for several months
before deciding to try Battersea. After
travelling to our Old Windsor centre to
meet Tess, she quickly decided she was
the dog for her, and it wasn’t long before
the pair were making the seven-hour
car journey back to Scotland. Tess is
just one of many dogs and cats that are
rehomed by Battersea across the UK.
Last year we rehomed 1,334 dogs and 926 cats
to towns and cities outside London.
Tess has settled in wonderfully to
her new home and enjoys daily walks
to the local forest and nearby beach.
It’s thanks to our far-reaching and
highly respected reputation that
people such as Mary, are often willing
to travel far and wide to visit Battersea
when looking to rehome a rescue
dog or cat.
Not all animals who arrive here
are suited to a traditional family
home. Due to our non-selective
intake policy, we often receive dogs
and cats with differing behavioural
needs. This is where we look beyond
traditional homes, all across the UK.
In 2018, 41 Battersea dogs were
rehomed with the help of specialist
Breed Rescues, representing a 50%
reduction on 2017 and reflecting
our renewed efforts to work with,
and successfully rehome, more
challenging dogs. Battersea is
recognised by the Kennel Club
as the only major welfare charity
working effectively with its extensive
Breed Rescue network.
Our Working Dog Manager placed
16 dogs (including the very first
Staffordshire Bull Terrier) in 10
different outlets, including HM
Prison Service, two police forces,
a fire service search team and
fellow charities Medical Detection
Dogs and Support Dogs UK. A
first Working Cat Co-ordinator was
recruited, and 104 cats considered
unsuitable for traditional homes
went to rural outlets, like farms.
Our Lost Dogs & Cats Line
celebrated its 20th anniversary
of reuniting lost animals with their
original owners and received 2,970
Lost reports and 3,052 Found
reports by year end.
Since it was
launched in 1998, the service has
reunited over 30,000 lost dogs
and cats with their owners.
CASE STUDY - FIRST RECRUIT
Battersea was thrilled when HMP
Six Counties Search Dogs rehomed
six-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Cookie as a drug detection dog.
Cookie is the first of her breed to
hold such an important role within
the prison service.
During her 56-day stay at Battersea,
staff noticed Cookie had exceptional
agility skills and was extremely good
at channelling her energy into games
Battersea’s Working Dogs Manager,
Jeff Moore, recalls, “From her first
session, Cookie showed great
potential, so we were really hopeful
that she’d be able to find a working
home that would be well-suited to
“She’s very sociable, clever, and a very
high-energy dog, so I knew that in the
right setting she could channel all that
into doing something great.”
Cookie is now a fully qualified drug
detection dog and has already
helped uncover three different hauls
of illegal substances. Jeff says,
“Cookie is a prime example of how
dogs of any breed shouldn’t be judged
on their looks or ‘reputation’ alone.
Any dog who is smart and loves the
mental and physical stimulation of
training has the potential to be an
incredible working dog.”
He adds, “I really hope that dogs
like Cookie can help to pave the
way for more unusual breeds to
become successful working dogs.”