A Salford animal carer believes more legislation should be implemented on people’s eligibility to own pets. Justine Ramsden of Animals in Distress, Irlam, is concerned with the ease that people can purchase an animal “without a license or home-check or any kind of regulation.”

Animals in Distress’ Irlam sanctuary is one of two owned by the charity. Along with its Littleborough compatriot it aims to ‘alleviate the suffering of sick and injured animals.’

The organisation assists with abandoned animals, cruelty cases, strays, unwanted pets and so on. For fifty years it has relied heavily on the donations of the general public, and has remarkably maintained astute standards of care despite miniscule government funding.

A lot of the donations are spent on the ’24 hour emergency work.’ The majority of cases stem from road accidents and owners are rarely found. The animals are examined by a vet and if too badly injured, they have their suffering ended by a painless injection.

Fortunately, most are treated in time and recover well enough to be considered for re-homing. However this is a costly process. Surgery on a broken leg can cost over £250 and a simple x-ray £60.

Justine Ramsden, head supervisor of the Irlam sanctuary, reveals that the situation has been of great distress at times. The sanctuary in the past has had to be: “re-mortgaged to get us over the line until some funds come in to raise enough money to cover it.”

Animal neglect is the failure to provide basic care required for an animal to live comfortably. This is a huge reoccurring problem in the UK, and Ms Ramsden explains why it is such a prevalent issue:

“People mistreat animals because they can. There’s nothing stopping them. If you have a dog or a cat in your house, nobody even needs to know it’s there.

If nobody sees it, if you’re not the kind of person to walk your dog, nobody’s going to know whether you’re starving it or abusing it or neglecting it because nobody ever sees it.”

The RSPCA investigates over 149,000 complaints of cruelty and neglect every year. In 2017, they received over a million phone calls. Ms Ramsden reveals she receives more than ten calls a day for just dogs alone, and excluding a couple of cases, puts it down to owners being: “selfish and irresponsible.”

“People can get away with it, and they will take advantage of that. It’s too much hard work and they can’t be bothered.

“It makes me really annoyed. Animals have no control over what happens to them. It’s entirely dependent on you. If you can’t afford to feed the animal, you shouldn’t have got it.”

Ms Ramsden’s honesty on the situation is to be admired, as nothing will be achieved if such circumstances are glossed over with timidity.

With Christmas approaching, it is commonly described as the season of goodwill. This differs for animals. The festive period is in fact the time of year when animal neglect and abandonment is at its most rampant state.

Ms Ramsden believes it boils down to the novelty of a pet wearing off:

“Christmas is coming and they’ve got their relatives coming around and they don’t want the dog getting in the way so they just get rid of it. Or they’re getting a new puppy or a new kitten and they don’t want the old one anymore.”

To help fund the work of Animals in Distress, Lots of Walks have aided the charity with long walks. The organisation, founded by Helen Porter, runs small group walks and works with home boarders and house sitters. The fundraiser was in association with The Horse and Dog Photographer.

Christmas is just as important a time for your pet as it is for you. It is important to acknowledge that for many pets, they go through their life only ever knowing you as their family. You have the whole world, they only have you. Make sure you don’t ignore them.

If you feel strongly about this, here are some ways you can help.


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