The Echo's chief reporter Mike Byrne with Tara Woodard and Biggles and Pepper outside the RSPCA's new cat pen named after the Express & Echo OLIVER SANDERS EE110509_OS02_02
THE Echo is to have its very own dedicated cat pen at Exeter’s RSPCA centre to mark its role in helping animals.
The paper regularly reports on animal welfare and runs re-homing appeals on behalf of the centre’s needy pets.
Now the RSPCA Exeter, East and West Devon branch is honouring animal-friendly reporters by dedicating a cat pen to the Echo.
The pen, at the Little Valley Animal Shelter, was opened yesterday Note: may 11 under the Safe Haven scheme, which invites members of the public to sponsor a kennel, cat pen, or rabbit run.
Neil Edwards, manager at the shelter, said: “The Little Valley shelter is constantly appealing for new loving homes for our cats, dogs and small pets so that we can continue to take in animals who have nowhere else to go. This would not be possible without the support of the Express & Echo.
“It often runs articles to help us find new homes for unwanted or neglected animals and does not shy away from reporting the harsh reality of the deliberate animal cruelty and neglect which is seen by the local inspectors and the branch in Devon.”
He said the centre wanted to demonstrate to the paper how much it appreciated the interest and reporters’ responsible approach to animal welfare stories.
He said: “We are giving a Safe Haven sponsorship to the newspaper in recognition of all the help we have received over the years.”
The Safe Haven scheme aims to provide animal lovers with a simple and rewarding way to contribute toward the £450,000 per year it costs the shelter to continue helping needy animals.
In return for a £3 to £5 per month contribution, the sponsor receives updates and invitations to open days and other events from the branch, as well as a plaque at the shelter commemorating their generosity.
The first residents of the Echo’s pen will be two deserving cats, Biggles and Pepper, who came to the RSPCA after their owner could no longer care for them.
Clare Pidgeon, their carer at the centre, said: “Biggles and Pepper are lovely cats. They’re extremely friendly and would be a wonderful addition to any quiet home.
Because of their age — they’re both 11 — they’re also eligible for the Golden Oldies scheme, which can help toward age-related vet’s bills.
“We think Biggles’s slight health problems — she requires medication for a urinary complaint — are putting people off adopting them, but all they require is a loving home where they can stay together.”
If you can offer a good home to Biggles and Pepper, or any of the other animals, visit the animal shelter to find out more.
Every year the shelter takes in hundreds of sick, unwanted and injured animals, nursing them back to health and boarding them at the centre, near Baker’s Hill, Exeter, until they can be found new homes.
So far, 2009 has been an exceptionally busy year for the centre, as more animals are abandoned or handed into RSPCA care than ever before.