An appeal has been launched by Bath Cats and Dogs Home in a bid to encourage people to donate £25 to buy a winter care package for an animal in its care.
The charity hopes to raise vital funds and encourage more people to dig deeper into their pockets this Christmas as running costs and fuel costs are set to rise.
Karen Ethier, animal care and welfare delivery manager, said: "The home relies solely on public donations, with annual running costs of about £1.3 million, therefore donating £25 towards the charity’s Winter Appeal will make a real difference to the animals in our care.
Not only will £25 cover heating costs, blankets and extra bedding, it will also fund metacam for dogs with aching joints and specialist heat-retaining vet bedding for cats.
"Without these bare essentials, life in kennels would be considerably tougher for these animals over Christmas. Rising fuel costs are certainly a daunting prospect for a charity that relies exclusively on the generosity of the public.”
One puppy that has been taken in is Angel, a four-week-old puppy, thrown out and left to die in a supermarket car park. F
ortunately, her cries alerted a passer by and she was immediately rushed into the home for around the clock feeds and heat lamp treatment.
Seven weeks on, and 1,176 hours of hand rearing later, Angel is going from strength to strength.
Her surrogate mother and around the clock carer, Karen Ethier, said: “When Angel was rushed into us, she weighed no more than a small apple and could fit in the palm of my hand.
"Her chances of survival were almost nil but, with lots of veterinary supervision, vet heat pads and around the clock feeds, Angel has become a ray of hope and a genuine success story.
"Without a doubt, £25 will go a long, long way towards helping the next Angel that crosses our threshold.”
The Bath-based charity has been in existence since 1937 and services over 650 square miles throughout Bath, Somerset and Wiltshire.
It always runs at full capacity on a one in one out basis. Kennel space and resources are a premium.
Rachel Jones, head of fundraising, said: “Donations are considerably down on last year, which means making ends meet is going to be tough this year especially with rising fuel costs, increased running costs and the fact that animals are taking longer to rehome.
"What’s more, the home has seen a marked increase in the number of calls from worried members of the public who can no longer afford to keep their pet.
"As a result, the home has a longer waiting list than ever before. We are definitely starting to feel the pinch and desperately need to get the message out there - now’s the time to give.”
Recent studies carried out by the charity show that rehoming is significantly down by 16.63 per cent.
In 2011, 2,044 animals were rehomed compared to 1,704 animals in 2012. This is largely due to economic reasons and the fact that more animals are coming into the home with pre-existing medical conditions.
The average stay for a dog in the home's care is now six weeks - three times as much as last year. The average stay for a cat is five weeks and 12 weeks.
The average cost for an animal in care at the home has also increased by 6.43 per cent. On average it costs up to £15 a day to care for a dog and £10 for a cat.
To donate to this year’s Winter Appeal call Bath Cats and Dogs Home on (01225) 787 334 or visit www.bcdh.org.uk/donate_today
Alternatively, send cheques made payable to Bath Cats and Dogs Home to the Fundraising Department, Bath Cats and Dogs Home, The Avenue, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AZ.