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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Barrow animals on death row saved

A PET store manager was determined to help save a cash-strapped animal charity.

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FIRST STORY: How the Mail reported on the charity’s cash plight

Cindy McGladdery, manager of the Barrow branch of Pets At Home, was heartbroken that Animal Refuge faced financial ruin.

Animal Refuge, which pays Barrow Borough Council to look after all stray dogs, had just six months to survive.

Charity bosses feared up to 400 dogs a year would be put down if they went bust.

But Miss McGladdery wanted to help.

She said: “It was heartbreaking to hear Anita’s story and the plight of the refuge, which does so much for homeless dogs in the local area.

“The whole team here at Pets At Home wanted to help out in any way they could, so I thought I’d ask our own charity, Support Adoption For Pets, for support.”

The board of trustees was so impressed by Miss McGladdery’s passionate plea that they fast-tracked the application and agreed to provide a £5,000 rescue funding package.

The £5,000 windfall, together with a flood of other donations, will ensure the charity’s survival for the next 12 months.

Anita Green, secretary and treasurer of Animal Refuge, cried when she was told about the £5,000 pledge.

Mrs Green said: “I am absolutely over the moon with it – I am just delighted. I could not believe it when I was told about the £5,000. That should cover our kennel bills for a year, maybe a little more. I was reduced to tears when they told me they were giving us the money.”

Mrs Green has been overwhelmed by the support given to her by members of the public.

She said: “Since the article has been in the paper we’ve had complete strangers coming in giving us £20, £30, £40, £100 in donations and we’ve had phone calls offering to do charity events. A woman gave us £175 from her 50th birthday and we’ve had a further £1,200 given to us by Animal Welfare. The response was massive.

“It is good to know there are so many generous people out there who care.

“We’re so grateful to everyone who’s offered their help and support, not just by donating money but just by coming in to see us and telling us what a good job we do.

“The people of Barrow have been so generous and considerate.”

Barrow and Furness MP John Hutton has also pledged his support.

He said in a letter to Mrs Green: “Please be assured that you have my continuing support for the excellent work you undertake and if you feel I could assist at any point in making representations in any quarter on your behalf, please do not hesitate to make contact.”

Mrs Green was keen to stress that Animal Refuge was still in need of support from the community, as the council has said it cannot help the charity financially.

Gary Ormondroyd, chief environmental health officer at Barrow Borough Council, said: “Following your article last week I have had a meeting with Anita from Animal Refuge to see what we can do to help, because there is no doubt that our ability to rehome stray and unwanted dogs will be seriously diminished if Animal Refuge folds.

“We are of course limited in what we can do as budgets for the current year have been set and the kennels staff are fully occupied keeping the service going.

“I have suggested that Anita gets some financial advice and that she seeks to publicise the work of the charity so that more people become aware of the fantastic work they do in finding loving homes for stray and unwanted animals.”

The £5,000 cheque will be presented to Mrs Green and her team next week at the Pets At Home store. Anyone who would like to make a donation or help raise money for Animal Refuge can call into its charity shop in Lumley Street, Barrow.

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