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Lewisham Rescue Work
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Lewisham Branch Rescue Work

Just some of our rescued feral cats awaiting new homes.

Lewisham Branch - Rescue and Rehoming

Our day-to-day tasks involve rescuing injured strays, trapping feral cats for neutering, collecting pets for neutering or treatment (where their owners can not bring them to us) and dealing with cruelty and neglect cases. There is a steady stream of requests from the public to rehome their unwanted pets. Some cases are genuine - death of an owner, a new baby being allergic etc. However, the majority of requests are the result of an irresponsible decision to acquire a pet in the first place. In today's materialistic society, peoples' ever-changing lifestyles are often not suited to keeping a pet for 15, or more, years. The message that a cat or a dog is for life needs to be reinforced constantly.

Each year Lewisham Branch rescues and rehomes around 900 animals. We are also constantly neutering and returning colonies of feral cats and assisting with welfare cases and neutering and treatment of cats in multi-cat households and for owners who cannot get to us or need more support to enable them to care for their pets properly. However those we haven't managed to help due to being full to capacity and lack of time are always on our minds, at this time of year whilst it is not kitten season we go back over old calls for help to assist any we had not reached during the busy months of kitten season.

WE NEED MORE VOLUNTEER HELP WITH RESCUE WORK. Could you assist with rescue calls in your local area?
Ways you could help include being part of a feeding rota for a feral colony or helping with observing a newly reported colony, identifying cats prior to us trapping and neutering. Assisting with door to door leafleting to seek the owner of a stray cat or gather information on local strays or to promote neutering of local pet cats.

Assist with trapping feral cats and/or learn basic trapping skills so that you can assist with trapping feral cats for neutering in your area.

If you can drive you may be able to help transport cats to the clinic, respond to an emergency call to collect a sick or injured stray and bring it to the clinic. Help deliver supplies to foster homes.






Simba, a young male cat came to us when his owners moved to a property tht didn't allow pets.

Frustration

We are daily frustrated by some peoples' excuses for being unable to keep their pets. A typical week's calls will include several people who are moving, often giving us less than 24 hours notice. Many wrongly advised pregnant women want to 'get rid' of their cats as they think they are unhygienic and a health or safety risk to their baby. Some of these callers can be reassured that, by following basic hygiene precautions and using a safety net on the cot, there is no need to part with their pet. We are also contacted by callers who want us to take their cats because they are scratching their young children. These cats are usually fed up with being pulled about by unsupervised toddlers and are just showing that they can tolerate no more. In a peaceful environment, their behaviour is entirely different.


Unhappy cats
Many callers have cats that are being dirty in the house. A cat urinating or defaecating in the wrong place is usually an unhappy cat. By talking to people, we can try to identify the cause of the problem, and suggest ways to restore a happy household.

If people call us needing help and advice, we do our best to support them to enable them to keep their pet unless we feel that the animal is at risk or it would be in the animal's best interest to be rehomed. Many people, though, remain adamant that the pet must go, and our staff have to prioritise these cases. Some callers are honest and tell us they are just fed up with their pet, don't like it any more, don't want the new carpet or leather sofa scratched, etc. A few callers are downright nasty and issue threats, i.e. unless we go there immediately, they will throw their pets out on the street, off the balcony, or drive out somewhere and dump them or harm them in some way.


These 16 week kittens were strugling to survive on a caravan park their only shelter was under the vans in thick mud

Scared of Humans

Numerous litters of kittens are discovered living in peoples' back gardens, usually appearing from under the shed. Many kittens are not discovered until the mother appears with them at 5 or 6-weeks old looking for food, or bringing them to the food source. A kind person, who has been feeding what they think is one stray, discovers they have a family on their hands. By this age, the kittens, due to the lack of handling, are scared of humans, and the older they get, the more nervous they become.
Once in our care, we then begin handling and socialising them. Literally hundreds of kittens born outdoors come into CHAT's care every year.

Coco aged 15 - Her elderly owner had suffered a stroke and could no longer care for her

Bereaved Pets

Alongside our rescue work and at the request of local housing authorities, mental health teams and the police, we take in animals left behind after pet owners have been evicted, sectioned, or have died. We also assist to resolve conflicts between Environmental Health Inspectors, housing departments and pet owners whose animals have been reported as a nuisance. We help with neutering, treatment and rehoming if necessary, and continue to monitor the situation and provide support if the animals are to be returned to the owner.

In the case of animals left after the death of their owner it is surprising that so many people make no provision for their pets should anything happen to them. All too often quite elderly and infirm people actually take on young animals that they know will far outlive them. If no arrangement has been made with for instance a relative to rehome the animal after their death, then they are being really irresponsible.

BEHIND BARS

Abandoned Animals

Sometimes, we know nothing about the animals at all. Sadly, animals are still left on our doorstep and are discovered in the morning, or there is an extra basket on the bench at the end of a vaccination clinic. Rarely is a note left with these animals, so we can only guess their history. We have a notice on our front door, pleading with people not to leave animals outside our clinic, but to come inside or ring us, no matter what the time. Our main concern is what happens to the animals if we are not the ones who find them, or if they escape from their containers.

A Feral Future?

We recently we discovered an empty taped up cardboard box with a hole ripped in it. A clump of long tabbywhite fur was stuck to the tape. We left food out for several days just in case, but saw no cat. Five days later, a very frightened long-haired tabby/white cat was discovered hiding in an alleyway very close by. It turned out she had not been neutered, so if we had not found her, this act of abandonment could have resulted in a new feral colony.

Rehoming We have many difficult cats to rehome, as well as some extremely beautiful ones. Approximately 30% of the cats in the clinic at any one time are adult feral cats seeking new homes on farms or stables in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Essex. The remainder of the cats range from small kittens, friendly young adult cats, battle-scarred old toms, FIV positive cats, cruelty cases needing TLC, to elderly cats, and those with special needs.

Most of our cats are moggies of all ages and descriptions, but some are pedigrees - in particular, Persian cats that are often in a pitiful state when they come in to our clinic. There are rarely less that 100 cats in our care at Lewisham, all needing clean litter trays and feeding twice a day, as well as gentle handling and veterinary attention.


The Kitten Season

During kitten season, we have to cope with numbers reaching between 160-200 cats. Caring for this number of cats is a mammoth task. We are always very grateful to all our volunteers, who give up a few hours in the evenings and weekends to help alongside our team of feeding and cleaning staff. We are also grateful to the volunteers and staff who, when we are full to bursting, happily take in litters of kittens to hand rear and accommodate the most recent mum and her litter, which have just arrived, take them home to care for them until we can rehome them.


Kittens

Hand Reared

Some of the cats and kittens arrive needing intensive care. Tiny orphaned kittens need careful hand-rearing, feeding and toileting every two hours, day and night. Sick and injured cats and kittens also require care around the clock. At times, everyone involved in rescuing and rehoming feels frustration and despair with what often seems to be a never-ending task.

Through neutering clinics, we attempt to bring the unwanted animal situation under control. We feel we really have seen an overall improvement ~ however, all the time there are irresponsible pet owners, there will always be unwanted, abandoned and stray animals needing help, and we must be there for them.

The sense of achievement we experience when we see rescued animals restored to health and happily settled in new homes, trusting and secure with their new families, will always spur us on to continue CHAT's essential work.





We can rescue them only you can save them.
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Bobby

A sad case of over breeding.

26th April:
Two weeks ago, we received a call from a man who had been advised to contact C.H.A.T, he was living in a house share and was concerned about his flat mates cats. It was obviously a very difficult situation to step in and intervene when you share a home with someone but thankfully he was brave enough to seek help for the cats.

The owner of the cats had three cats, one neutered 12 year old male cat and two unneutered female cats who were 12 and 13 years old, and had been breeding all their lives!!! Recently at least half of each litter of kittens had died, but the owner still did not get them neutered!

Bobbie a very friendly long haired tabby had recently given birth to 6 kittens but all that still survived was one 10 day old kitten.

Silvie a friendly long haired black and white had lost half of her last litter and the surviving three kittens had already been given away, she was pregnant again.

Both cats had a large mammary lump which could immediately be felt on picking the cats up. Silvie's lump was ulcerating.

The male cat had three extremely rotton teeth covered in massive lumps of tartar and his gums were infected, the pus and salivia in his mouth could be smelt without opening his mouth to examine him.

The man explained that although the cats were clearly well fed their owner would not take them or allow anyone else to take them to a vet for neutering or treatment.
Sylvie We immediately brought all four cats into our clinic for veterinary treatment.
The male cat has been treated with antibiotics and had his three remaining rotton teeth removed, he has now returned to his home and his care will be monitored by the other people in the house.

Silvie and Bobbie have both had surgery to remove their lumps and have been neutered. Bobbie's kitten is continuing to do well. These three are staying with us to be rehomed.

We hoped that the lumps on Bobbie and Silvie would turn out to be mammary abcesses as a result of untreated mastitis due to the many litters they had reared.

VERY SADLY we have received the news that both cats have mammary cancer - the prognosis is poor- six months maybe a year if they are lucky. These beautiful loving pet cats have literally been bred to death.

UPDATE 28th MAY: This trio have now been rehomed together, the new owners are going to be adopting another younger cat so that Bobbie's kitten has a companion once her mum and aunt have gone.
Finn

FINN

CHAT received a distressed call from a member of the public who had found a dog in starving condition, cowering under a bush in a park in South East London.

Two of our rescue workers went to collect the dog and were utterly shocked at his condition.
On arrival at the clinic, he was immediately seen by our vets.

The dog was a young adult male Staffordshire Bull terrier type, estimated by his teeth to be around 3 years old, In our vets opinion he should have weighed a minimum of 20Kg. But
Finn only weighed 7.3Kg!


Finn was struggling to support his weight and was in a near collapsed state.

Finn was put on a drip and is now being fed small frequent meals to gradually build his weight.
Finn All animal charities in the London area are very concerned about the plight of Staffordshire Bull terriers.

Staffordshire Bull terriers are typically being acquired by inexperienced owners who see them as having a 'macho' image.

Staffies are being bred and sold for profit by people who have no concern as to their future wellbeing.

Some dogs are encouraged to be aggressive or even used in illegal dog fighting.


Once the novelty of owning one of these dogs has worn off, many end up dumped or handed in to rescue centres.
Rescue centres in the London area are struggling to cope with the numbers of Staffies in their care.
For those dogs that have been encouraged to be aggressive, their fate is usually euthanasia.
For the rest, they struggle to find new homes because the previously good name of Staffordshire Bull terriers has been tarnished by their new image and bad press.
Finn Finn is a good natured dog who most certainly deserves a second chance.

Somebody with no conscience bred from Finn's mum and sold him.
In London, Staffie pups are regularly sold through free-ad papers and websites with no checks being made as to who is buying them.
Many dealers purchase animals of all descriptions from these websites and classified ads.
They pose as genuine homes purchasing animals that are then resold at a higher price.

Our advice to anyone with a Staffie who has any conscience is to neuter your dog or bitch so that you are no part of this trade in misery.


Finn


After 3 months, Finn was restored to health and now has a lovely new home.







Staircase cats

THE STAIRCASE CATS

Thirty five cats were rescued after it was discovered they were being kept confined by their owner on a single staircase in his home.

The cats had access to a tiny landing and even smaller area inside the front door. One litter tray was balanced on a stair, and food bowls were on each step.
The cats were in virtual darkness and the air smelt strongly with the stench of ammonia from the cats urine.
Although they were being fed a reasonable amount of food, the younger cats were thin.
On a rota basis the favourite cats were allowed into the living room or sometimes allowed outdoors.

Although the owner had taken some cats to be neutered, many were not and the owner could no distinguish which of the many similar looking cats were neutered. We discovered that two female cats had very recently given birth, yet their kittens could not be found within the space the cats were confined in. The horrific explanation to this is that due to the stress of extreme overcrowding either the mothers had eaten the kittens or the other cats had.

We immediately began desperate negotiations with the owner to allow us to sort the cats out and rehome the majority of them. Simultaneously the R.S.P.C.A had been called and they intervened to remove 30 cats into our care for rehoming. The owner has been left with a small number of neutered cats and will continue to be monitored.



Bronco

BRONCO -was rescued after being soaked in petrol.


We received a call from a lady saying that there was a cat in a bad way in her garden and that it couldn't walk properly. When one of our rescue team got there the cat was cowering under a bush and he was able to just grab him.
When he was brought back to our veterinary clinic we realised he was covered in petrol and the resulting burns to his skin were the reason he wasnt walking properly.

Bronco made a full recovery, his skin healed and eventually his fur regrew. He has now found a new home.
Bronco



Here is Bronco who is now named Jacko happily settled in his new home.

The three cats that were tied in sacks.

THREE CATS RESCUED AFTER BEING DISCOVERED TIED IN SACKS INSIDE A BOX THAT HAD BEEN THROWN INTO A SKIP!

These three cats were brought into the Lewisham clinic by a skip lorry driver.

He had become suspicious as to the contents of a cardboard box that had been thrown on top of the contents of a loaded skip that he was collecting. There were tied hessian sacks inside the box and animals clearly moving within, he drove straight to us and carried the box in.

We untied the sacks and discovered three frightened healthy adult cats.

They were very lucky to have survived this act of shocking cruelty.

These cats have now been rehomed.









Some of the cats that lost their home.

Homeless pets.....

Ten cats have been taken in after their owners house was repossessed.

They are all friendly young adult cats and their owner was very upset to have to give them up but no longer had anywhere suitable to live with them.

Prior to losing their home the cats and their owner had endured terrible harassment from local residents and their children. The cats used to go outdoors but they were being shot at by people with air rifles, when the cats owner then kept them all indoors to keep them safe they then shot at them through her letterbox! They also put a hosepipe in through the letterbox and flooded her home.

We have removed air rifle pellets that were embedded in three of the cats but we cannot remove a pellet from one of the cats.

The cats are really lovely and friendly and were quickly found loving new homes.





The three kittens

THREE TINY KITTENS RESCUED AFTER BEING FOUND IN A CARIER BAG IN THE SNOW.


These three tiny kittens were dumped in a carrier bag in an alley way in Edmonton.

They were dumped between 6.30am when someone drove out of the alley and the bag was not there and 7.30am when someone saw a tiny kitten walking around outside the bag and then trying to get back into it - two other kittens were hiding in the bag.

The member of public who spotted them kindly took them indoors to warm them up and called us.

The carrier bag lying in the snow. We also searched the area and left food outside in case there were any more kittens but no there hasn't been any sign of more.

Poor babies, it was freezing!

These kittens have found a lovely new home as a trio!




















Kittens were climbing through this rubbish!

Rubbish Tip Cats

Lewisham Branch rescue team have been working with a colony of feral cats based on an industrial estate in South London.

The cats have been living at a waste processing depot which was the destination for restaurant food waste as well as other rubbish. They were feeding on the food scraps and were wanted by the managers as they also caught rats. We were initially told that years before two cats had purposefully been introduced to catch rodents but they were unneutered and this led to the large colony of feral cats now present.

Heavy digging machinery was used daily at the site and it was a very dangerous place for cats and especially kittens to live. Next door was a car breakers yard and behind lay a railway line.
Two feral cats sampling some food we provided. Over the years we have rescued numerous litters of kittens and injured feral cats as well as tame unneutered male cats who have clearly once been pets but had wandered too far in search of females and ended up living with the colony.

Following negotiations with the waste site managers we have also neutered and returned many healthy adult cats. Our preference would have been to rehome the cats to safer country homes but the only way the site managers would co-operate was if we agreed to return the cats.

Trapping the cats was always difficult as the cats were actually very well fed living off food scraps and the food we offered was not as tempting to them as it is to most strays.
This young feral cat had lost her front leg. January 2010 We suddenly learn that the waste depot has closed - permanently!!
There is a security guard on site until March and we have resumed trapping the cats and bringing them in for rehoming.

It is now much easier as with their food source removed the cats are coming to our feeding points.

We manage to rescue young adult cat whose leg has been ripped off, our vets think it may have been caught in some machinery. She must have been in agony, yet somehow survived.

They have amputated the exposed bone and she is doing well.
We have named this cat We have also rescued a cat with one eye and another with half a tail.

More updates on this rescue to follow soon.....
Jack (ginger) and Jill (with three legs) are now seeking a new home. MARCH 2010 Jill has recovered well from her leg amputation and has now been joined by Jack a young ginger cat also rescued from the same site.

Our rescue team are continuing to visit the site each week to try and trap the rest of the cats and bring them to safety.

The cats that have previously been neutered and returned are proving difficult to re catch as they are wise to the methods involved so this is proving to be a time consuming rescue.
Sergei

Sergei


Sergei had been living as a stray for about a year. The people who were kindly feeding him told us that they believe a neighbour had moved out and left him behind.

They rang us because they thought he was unwell- he had come into their conservatory and wouldn't eat or drink. They also noticed that he looked like he had some wounds.

We brought him in and our vets discovered the true extent of his injuries. His wounds appear to bite wounds probably caused by a dog.



Sergei's wounds

Sergei made a full recovery and was successfully rehomed.
















VIDEO CLIP OF RESCUED CATS AT LEWISHAM BRANCH




In August 2010 we experimented with our first ever video clip of cats needing homes on our website! Hero and Parker, Doris, Elmo, Fudge, Riz, Harry and Brightstar were our first 'stars'. All amongst our longer stay guests they were struggling to compete for homes against 'cute' kittens. The good news is that by the end of October they had all found new homes of their own.


mum and kittens

Dead kittens


We received a phone call from a lady who said that she wanted to rehome her adult cat immediately.

When we asked her why she said because the mother cat had killed two of her kittens the night before. However the dead kittens had been found drowned in the toilet and wedged in the u-bend, obviously the mother cat could not have done this. We asked if anyone else in her home could have done this? she said "No", we asked if she had children to which she said "No".

We agreed to take the mother cat and her remaining two kittens. She only brought us the mother cat and said she was keeping the kittens - we convinced her to let us have the kittens as the mother was very stressed and was very full with milk.

When we went to their house we discovered that they did have young kids but the woman said they were not home when it happened -obviously someone rather than the mother cat put the kittens down the toilet.

The mother cat was so happy to be reunited with her remaining two kittens and immediately began washing and cuddling the kittens - she clearly really loved her babies.

The family have now been rehomed.
The terrible injury to Hero's leg

Hero's story

A young male farm cat was found with a powerful spring action rat trap snapped shut on his leg.

The farm that he lived at did not use rat traps, they had a colony of cats and therefore had no need for any other rodent control measures.

This poor cat must have dragged himself home in agony from a neighbouring property with the trap still attached to his leg.

We were called and by the time we got there two farm workers had managed to release the cats leg from the trap.

We rushed him to our Lewisham Clinic where he was given pain relief and examined by one of our vets. The injury was so severe that the only option was to amputate his leg.
Hero - a very brave young cat The rat trap had been irresponsibly set where it was possible for other animals, both pets and wildlife to become caught in it.

We leafleted the neighbouring stables and smallholdings letting them know what had happened and warning them to make sure no other traps were left lying around in this way.

Hero made a full recovery and learned to manage very well on three legs. He also became much friendlier with people over the course of his treatment.

We were able to rehome him along with another cat from the farm - Parker, who came in to receive treatment for an unusual skin cancer on his nose.

We have received good news that they have settled well and are extremely content with their new domesticated lifestyle!
Van Cats

August 2010 The Van Cats

Aug 8th: 35 CATS AND 9 KITTENS RESCUED AFTER 5 DAY ORDEAL INSIDE A SMALL VAN!
Aug 8th 6.pm. A call was received by our Lewisham rescue team from an ambulance driver who had been called to a vehicle to assist a very distressed woman and her ex-husband.

As the story unravelled it turned out that the owner and her cats had been evicted from their home on Monday 2nd Aug in Lincolnshire.
The RSPCA took over 40 cats from the home but the owner loaded a further 35 cats and 9 kittens into a small van and then drove to London to try and find a property to rent and move the cats into.
She slept with the cats which were loose inside the cramped vehicle in various car parks and lay-by's. As each day passed and with no luck finding a property the owner was becoming more distressed. By Sunday 8th she was on the point of a nervous breakdown and her ex husband called an ambulance.

Three of Lewisham staff went straight to the scene where conditions inside the vehicle were absolutely filthy as you would expect, the cats were sitting in urine and faeces. The cats were put into cat baskets and brought back to the safety of Lewisham Branch veterinary clinic.

The woman was taken to hospital.
The van that was the cats and their owners temporary home. UPDATE 11th AUG: We are now getting a fuller picture of what had happened. The woman was evicted on Monday 2nd August from her home in Grantham, Lincolnshire. The RSPCA attended and removed 42 cats but the woman collected the rest of her cats and kittens and loaded then into her van.

She had three mum cats and their kittens plus two other adult cats in the passenger side foot well and front seat. The rest of the cats were in the back of the van.

She then set off for London enlisting the help of her ex husband to try and rent a property that she could take the cats to. They then spent the next few days moving around car parks and lay-by's trying to find somewhere to rent.

One cat, suffering from fits, died in the van on the Wednesday, if the van hadn't had air conditioning many more cats could have died.

By Friday evening they ended up in a Sainsbury's car park in S.W London.
The interior of the van On Sunday the 8th by late afternoon the strain was really taking it's toll on the cats owner who by now was on the point of a nervous breakdown and her ex- husband called an ambulance. The ambulance driver called us in desperation seeking help for the cats after being refused assistance by other London based animal charities.

Our staff raced to the scene and were completely shocked by the small size of the van, the conditions inside and the length of time the cats had been confined in it. The cats and kittens were immediately transferred into cat carrying baskets and brought to our Lewisham clinic.

The cats are all very friendly and clearly have been much loved, they have been well fed - indeed some are overweight. Some were already neutered, but others are not. One cat gave birth to dead kittens this morning. Some of the younger cats are showing physical symptoms associated with inbreeding.
They have all been checked by a vet and those that are unneutered are being neutered.

UPDATE Dec 2010. These cats have now been rehomed.

Abba

ABBA

Lewisham Branch received a call one morning to report a terrified dog hiding in bushes being tormented by a group of drunks.

We attended and found Abba, she was so scared that she wouldn't stand up and had to be carried to the van. Upon arrival at the clinic as soon as she was examined it was clear that she had recently had puppies. We were very concerned as to the whereabouts of her puppies and returned and put up "Found dog" posters and also reported her to Battersea Dogs Home. No one has claimed her and we now think that it is likely that someone had pulled into the bus stop which was situated in a lay-by on a busy road and had carried her into the bushes and dumped her having done something to her puppies.

Initially Abba was really scared of everything but gradually became more relaxed. She has been homed on a foster basis but if all works out she will stay there permanently.
Conditions in the flat

18 cats and two kittens - rescued after a week without food or water

18 cats and two kittens have been rescued after their elderly owner was taken into hospital and then the cats were left without food or water for a further week!

On March 2nd the cats owners was hospitalised and the police arrived later in the day and secured the property, several cats ran into the garden but the rest were shut in the house without food or water until 9th March when someone from Social Services went to the house and heard kittens crying.

We were contacted by the council the next day 10th March.

Lewisham rescue team attended the house with a social worker and it immediately became clear that it was not just a matter of calling the cats and putting them in baskets, the whole house was stacked high with piles of old clothes, heavy boxes, rubbish, and very heavy furniture that the cats could hide behind.
There was cat faeces everywhere - and the cats were completely unapproachable, flying into the piles of rubbish and disappearing.

We are very experienced in dealing with problems like this and are regularly called by the police, Social Services, Mental Health teams, etc to properties full of cats in similar conditions when people have died, been evicted or sectioned, etc., to remove cats and we are always given keys/whatever access we need to be able to do this.

It took several days ensure that all the cats were caught and brought safely into our care.

ABANDONED PET SHOP

19th MAY: UPDATE REGARDING THE ABANDONED PET SHOP IN CAMDEN. Article from the Camden New Journal.

To see their report: Click Here
15th May: ITN London Tonight News have covered the abandoned pet shop story, to see their report: Click Here
Pet shop ABANDONED PET SHOP CAMDEN NORTH LONDON.
On Tuesday 10th May 2011 at 6.30p.m Lewisham Branch was contacted by a very concerned member of the public reporting that bailiffs had that day been at Pets Corner 110 Malden Road, Camden, North London and had sealed the shop but that there were still animals shut inside. The lady who contacted us told us that conditions inside the shop had always been poor and that she had been concerned about the shop for the last 18 months and had contacted Camden Council on several occasions about the state of the animals.
She had also seen that the shop was closed the previous day and other local people believed that the pet shop owners had not been seen for some days. The RSPCA had been called but said they could "only get involved after 24 hours from the bailiffs notice" which would be the following afternoon! The caller was concerned that the animals did not have food or water until then.

Lewisham Rescue staff went to the pet shop on the evening of Tuesday the 10th. Upon arrival they were greeted by a group of local people, including a journalist from the local paper. Through the shop window caged parrots could be seen and a chinchilla was running around the shop floor. We phoned the RSPCA to let them know that there were animals locked inside the shop and that there were concerns that they had not received food or water for at least two days and possibly longer. The RSPCA informed us they could not attend until the following afternoon, and after being phoned a second time they said that as it was a pet shop it was a matter for the Councils Pet Shop Licensing department rather than the RSPCA. We attempted to contact the council but the relevant department was unavailable at that time. We eventually managed to contact and email the bailiff to offer our assistance in the removal of the animals. The bailiff promised to forward our email offering assistance on to the landlord and the solicitor who was dealing with the case and we received an email the following morning from the solicitor confirming that if the owners of the animals had not collected them by 2 p.m on Wednesday 11th May, then they would contact us for our assistance. The bailiff did confirm that they had provided food and water for the animals earlier on the day on the 10th, and so as nothing else could be achieved so late in the day our team left for the evening.
Snake Lewisham Rescue staff returned promptly on the Wednesday morning so as to be available as soon as they were needed. The court bailiff attended to disconnect the electricity, accompanied by the police and the Council Licensing Inspector, Angela Kypriotis, and at this point our staff were able to enter the premises.

There were rabbits, parrots, a chinchilla, snakes, an iguana, hamsters and a gerbil. Two rabbits and a turtle had died and many of the remaining animals had no food or water.
Although we had an arrangement with the landlords solicitors to assist with the animals after 2 p.m on the Wednesday, the Camden Council official, Angela Kypriotis, said we were not needed and asked our rescue team to leave. The RSPCA did attend and, with the possibility of a prosecution, the animals were all taken into the care of the Mayhew Animal Home.

There remain many questions to be asked about conditions in this pet shop and the role of the council licensing officer as local people tell us that they had been concerned about the welfare of animals in this shop for over a year. Apparently they had been selling animals for a year without a pet shop licence - and the RSPCA had attended on numerous occasions during the previous year in response to calls from the public. The Pet shop had submitted an application for a licence in January of this year which was granted.

Read the report about this shop in the Camden New Journal: http://www.camdennewjournal.com/news/2011/may/animals-left-dead-after-neighbours-reported-concerns

We feel that the Pet shop licencing process is far from adequate and is often policed by people who may not have enough experience in animal welfare to be able to monitor the animals welfare properly.
Inside the shop

More photos from inside the shop....


The conditions inside the pet shop.

Cages containing reptiles, rabbits and rodents were stacked on top and alongside each other.

The place was full of flies.
Iguana and sink

An Iguana and the sink.
Turtle and Rabbit For this Turtle and rabbit help came too late, they had both died.



15th May 2011: ITN London Tonight News have covered the story, to see their report: Click Here




Cat

Cat rescued with head stuck through a hole in a metal lid...

Lewisham Branch were contacted by a man in London SE17 who had been feeding a hungry apparently stray cat for a few days.

George told us "there is a cat in the area with some sort of ring/disc around it's neck, (see photo) I have been giving it scraps on the pavement outside my kitchen"
The cat was very shy but also hungry and was coming for the food that he put out for her, but not close enough to be touched.

We initially thought that the cat may be wearing some kind of veterinary collar as sometimes worn to prevent an animal chewing its stitches following an operation. However it would not be advisable to let a cat outdoors wearing one and we wondered if she could have escaped from a cat carrier on the way home from a vets.

Natalie from the Lewisham rescue team attended that evening but the cat did not appear, she returned again today and managed to catch the cat in a cat trap.
Tin lid and Natalie was surprised to discover that it was a metal lid with a small machine cut hole in the middle, the lid was dirty with some blood around the sharper edges.
Lewisham staff managed to gently ease the lid back over the cats head. Upon examination her injuries seem limited to a few minor cuts around her neck.

We think the lid may have been on some kind of container and she has pushed her head through some kind of 'pouring hole' to get to the contents, then found her head stuck, managed to prize the lid off the container but been left with it stuck round her neck!

She is a very timid cat, but seems otherwise to be okay. We assume she is lost, since if she had a home her owners would have removed the lid. If her owners cannot be traced she will be requiring a new home.

Photo left: The tin lid and the cat now named "Magnolia".

Update: We could not find Magnolia's original owners but she found a lovely new home with a couple who already had a cat from us "Freddie" and the two cats have become great friends.
Timmy

TIMMY

This poor little Staffie was found by one of our volunteers - who heard him howling in a wooded area behind her home in Surrey Quays.

"Today, was unusually mild. As I wide opened my bedroom window facing a few more back gardens and then Russia Dock woodlands in London I heard a dog barking and howling. It sounded like it was in distress and pain. Initially, I thought it came from one of the back gardens and I thought that perhaps the dog was being left alone. But then it sounded more and more like it was actually in pain.
I decided to go and find out where the sound was coming from and took off down my cul de sac. The howling continued all the way until I reached the end of the housing estate and the edge of the park. Through foliage and trees I spotted a whitish creature and it was clear that the sound was coming from it.

Abandoned and tied down on a tree branch I found a completely emaciated Staffordshire terrier, his bottom lips ripped open and bleeding, deep wounds on his nose and blood on both of his front legs. His body was a mere skeleton and he hardly had the strength to greet me with joy. Though he was trying.

He was friendly and let me untie him to take out of the park. My neighbour kindly offered us a lift to the Lewisham clinic.

We gave the dog a tin of dog food, which he ate in less than 10 secs!"
Timmy Initially he was scared but after reassurance he that realised we were not going to hurt him and became pathetically keen to be friends, lying down, rolling on his back and eventually rested his head in someone's hands. He behaved as though he was once a loved dog. Our vets have given him pain killers to ease the pain of his wounds. In addition to all his injuries he was underweight and very smelly with yellow urine stains on his coat, once he was fitter he was neutered and microchipped.

This story illustrates the situation animal charities are facing with countless bull breeds like this being discarded just like they are rubbish. Timmy's injuries are dog bites, he has been attacked by other dogs. We belive he could have possibly been stolen and used as a bait dog for illegal dog fighting.

Timmy was moved from CHAT into the care of an independent dog rescuer for assessment/ training prior to be moved to a foster home whilst a home is sought.
Tim

On the road to recovery....

Timmy in his foster home 6 weeks later....

"Tim the emaciated staffy boy from Lewisham, He is timid around strangers however is coming along great, with continued support he should be perfect!"

Good Luck Timmy, you really deserved a second chance of a new life!
Gabrielle and Zoe

GABRIELLE AND ZOE

Zoe and Gabrielle are two young female cats who are seeking a special indoor only home.

They were rescued after being discovered amongst a large group of cats that are rescue team are currently taking for rehoming. Their owner didn't neuter his cats and the cats bred uncontrolled until there were too many for him to cope with or care for properly.

Zoe and Gabrielle both had severe neglected wounds to their legs. They were living as indoor only cats so it is unclear how they sustained their injuries, if they were cats that had access to outdoors we would have assumed they had been attacked by a large animal.

Gabrielle upon arrival Gabrielle's feet really looked like she had been attacked. They were covered in faeces and matted fur and were infected. One leg had to be amputated and she has lost two toes on her other foot. She is now making a good recovery.

Zoe was missing a foot completely and just had a stump
We had to amputate the remains of the leg, Zoe is also recovering well.
Tia

TIA

Tia a friendly young female cat was rescued in January and brought to our clinic.

A lady had gone to put her rubbish into a communal bin and had lifted the lid and heard a rustling, she looked into the bin and could see movement inside a tied bag. She reached in and pulled up the bag that was fortunately within reach. Inside she found Tia!

Tia appeared to be injured, rather limp, with a head tilt and her mouth slightly open. She put her on the front seat of her car and began phoning for help. When we received the call, from her description of Tia's condition we thought it could have been a terrible mistake where a cat had been hit by a car and someone thinking she was dead had been placed in the bag and in a bin. We asked the lady to bring Tia straight to us.

However upon examination when she arrived she did not have any injuries consistent with a road traffic accident. Instead she was thin, caked in flea dirt, with a head tilt. It is clear that someone had deliberately put her in a bag, tied up the bag and placed her in the bin!!

If this lady hadn't heard her make a sound and rescued her the consequences just don't bear thinking about.

Tia was discovered to have a partially dislocated jaw and X-rays revealed trauma to her neck bone / vertebrae. Her injuries are consistent with deliberate harm having been caused to her. She has been left with a permanent head tilt, her jaw is okay at the moment in that she can close her mouth and eat her food.

Tia has been under our vets care whilst she has gained some weight. She will be neutered in a few weeks when she is more fully recovered and then will be seeking a new home.

UPDATE 12TH APRIL: GOOD NEWS TIA HAS FOUND A NEW HOME!


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