The new manager of Preston’s RSPCA animal rescue centre is aiming to restore the facility to its former glory after helping to prevent its closure.
The Preston & District branch came within a whisker of shutting down this year, but thanks to a public appeal it has five months of running costs left in its coffers.
The centre in Longridge Road, Ribbleton, hasn’t had a manager since May, but now trustee John Wareing has stepped into the role.
He said: “We had to close half of the kennels down two to three years ago and cut our staff by half.
“It costs about £20,000 a month to run the centre. At one point we were about £8,000 short.
“Last year we took it down to about £5,000 a month and this year it’s looking better because we’ve done a lot in the paper.
“People came forward and a lot of them said they didn’t realise we’re a self-funded branch.”
The centre, open from noon to 3pm every day except Tuesday, cares for the most neglected and abused cats and dogs in the area.
John said: “We rehabilitate and care for them, get them back to full health, then assess them and find them perfect homes.
“We also fund a clinic in Lancaster Road that is open three times a week, where people on certain benefits can take their animals for basic veterinary treatment.
John wants to dispel myths about the RSPCA, such as that money donated to the branch goes to national legal campaigns.
He said: “Every single penny that comes to Preston stays in Preston and is spent on animals. None of it goes to prosecutions. But donations have to be made specifically to us or else it goes to our head office.
“We’ve got six staff, split between full time and part time, and room for 20 dogs and 20 cats.
“We’ve got facilities for 40 of each but it means we would need to employ more staff and at the moment we can’t, so we need more help from the public. The position is a lot better but we’re by no means out of the woods.
“I’m going to be doing a lot more with schools, Cubs, Beavers, Rotary Clubs, those sort of groups and we’ll be a lot more active in the community.
“I want to get the staff up to full capacity, fill it with volunteers and get all the kennels open so I can sleep soundly at night, knowing that animals aren’t being dumped on the street because we haven’t got space for them.”
To find out how to donate visit www.rspca-preston.org.uk.