A pensioner who helps run an animal rescue centre believes the North East needs a facility like the famous Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, saying there is a growing need for welfare.
Linda Wilkinson is a founder member of Amble-based Pet Support, which looks after a range of animals and helps to find them new homes.
The charity currently has around 30 cats and kittens, a number of dogs and is also putting the feelers out for owners to take on a llama, donkey and a pony.
Recently, the group took on two kittens, aged eight or nine weeks old, which were found abandoned down a lane in Alnwick just before Christmas – although the cute pair are all set to go to new homes.
And 66-year-old Linda, who has been working with an animals on a voluntary basis since the 1970s, says the region needs a major facility to help animals.
She said: “There is a growing need. I really do think that we need something like the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, in London, in the North East, because there is nothing that is very substantial up here.
“Animal cruelty figures are high in the North East and we are currently finding that there is a surplus of cats. For instance, it is not uncommon to find that people move house, but leave their cats behind.”
Pet Support has been running for around 18 months, and Linda says she helped set it up because of the need for rescue workers.
She said: “There was several of us who resigned from another charity. I was going to take a break because I have been doing this for a long time and I am not getting any younger, but then you see the infomercials on the television and you see that there is not enough people doing rescue work, so I decided to get back in the saddle and try to do what we can in this area.”
While Pet Support primarily caters for animals in need in the NE66 and NE65 areas of Northumberland, Linda admits that the group can respond to incidents further afield.
She said: “We try to stick to the area covering Alnwick to Morpeth, but when we hear that something is struggling and needs help from further afield, I am sure that we would pull out the stops to help them. We have, for example, helped animals from Sunderland.”
Pet Support has a charity shop in Amble’s Church Street, and while it is due to close soon for a refurbishment, the group will very much be continuing.
Linda, from High Hauxley, said: “We are not finishing and we are not closing down. We are simply closing for a refurbishment and we will be back. The venue needs some work doing to it, and this could take about two months, but we will still be taking donations in the meantime.”
Pet Support has volunteers stretching from Amble to Cramlington, but Linda says more are welcome.
For details and to find out about volunteering or rehoming one of the animals, call Linda on 07855 833056.