When one thinks of Battersea, Battersea Dogs Home immediately springs to mind (well, actually it’s Battersea Dogs and Cats Home but for some reason the cats always seems to get missed out). The Home is one of the area’s most famous landmarks and is still running strong today. Established in 1860, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. The aim of the Home is to never turn away a cat or dog in need of help. The idea is to reunite lost dogs and cats with their owners and in the event of this not being possible, they are cared for until new owners are found. Some three million animals have been cared for and the Home is one of the UK’s most famous and longest-established charities.
In 2012, comedian Paul O’Grady and the ITV cameras were invited to the Home to film the first national television series – called “Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs”, drawing in an incredible 63 million viewers for the first series!
How the Home works
The Home prides itself on being one of the few animal rescue charities that runs a non-selective intake policy – accepting ANY breed of animal, including dogs or cats with serious medical and behavioural problems. The expert team gives the animals the best chance in life to move forward and find a happy home in the UK and abroad. There’s also a strong push to educate the public about responsible pet ownership, including micro-chipping, neutering and training. The Home also visits to schools and organisations and regularly publishes newsletters, publications and arranges events. The Lost and Found team helps to reunite owners with their missing pets and focuses on showing people who’ve lost an animal around the kennels and the cattery to attempt to reunite them with their pet.
- In 1862 author Charles Dickens wrote an article in support of the new Home in his well-known newspaper All the Year Round.
- Battersea started accepting cats 23 years after The Temporary Home for Lost & Starving Dogs was set up by Mrs Mary Tealby in North London.
- In 1895 the Home used 32 tonnes of biscuits, 420 gallons of milk and received 36,873 visitors.
- In 1918 dogs from Battersea made up the first batch of recruits of the War Dog School. This institution trained thousands of dogs to become messengers and munitions carriers during the War.
- In 1990 - Battersea pioneered the micro-chipping of dogs, which is set to become a legal requirement from 2016.
- In 2011 Battersea resident Larry the cat moves into his new home at 10 Downing Street!
- In 2012, there were more than 3,500 lost reports from owners whose pets had gone missing.
Visiting the home
If you’re interested in visiting the home, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has three centres to choose from in the South East. There’s the London centre of course as well as at Old Windsor in Berkshire and at Brands Hatch in Kent. If you’re just looking for a tour, they are held from time to time – just keep an eye on the social media page!
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Thumbnail credit: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home