In 2015, Stray Aid successfully re-tendered for a new Durham council contract, covering the whole of the Durham Unitary Authority area. Towards the end of the year, the charity was successful in adding Middlesbrough council to its existing Hartlepool council contract. We expect to see an increase in the numbers of dogs requiring assistance in the year 2015-16.
It costs approximately £1,000 per week to run the Animal Welfare Centre. We have a vet available 7 days a week to provide on-site veterinary treatment for ill and injured strays. We have seen a significant increase in the numbers of seriously underweight, malnourished dogs this year, requiring specialist nutrition and a prolonged recovery period in our Animal Welfare Kennels before they are passed as fit to rehome. In addition the numbers of lurchers with mange, a painful skin condition, common in working dogs, caused by mites burrowing into the skin, has increased by approximately 30%. The numbers of elderly dogs requiring veterinary treatment, lump removals and expensive dental work has increased by nearly 25%.
We have also noticed a distressing trend in an increase in the number of dogs with more serious veterinary conditions, turning up as strays, and we believe that this may be partly due to the fact that their owners may be unable to fund expensive veterinary treatment for their pets, and are putting them out on the street as an alternative to getting them treated, or even euthanased.
We are looking to network with many other agencies. Dogs Trust have been supporting us with neutering vouchers and microchips which help towards our costs. We also run our own veterinary ambulance and transferred over 150 dogs to other rescue centres across the country last year alone, to ensure that we maintain a credible non-destruct policy. We will probably have to transfer even more dogs this year to other rescues, to help in finding good homes for all the dogs we save.
An additional burden has recently been placed on the charity due to changes brought about in legislation where the RSPCA no longer treats stray dogs found injured in road traffic accidents, and these unfortunate animals are now making up an increasing percentage of the welfare centre’s work load.