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RSPCA: Charity signs ground-breaking deal to boost animal welfare

RSPCA and Pets at Home in new landmark agreement

The RSPCA and Pets at Home are to work together in a pioneering move that could see major advances in the welfare of pets.

The deal, which has been supported by the charity’s ruling Council of Trustees, will see the RSPCA open Advice and Adoption areas in some Pets at Homes stores and may mean the charity could use the stores to rehome unwanted animals such as rabbits.

It is expected that the first RSPCA area will open this Autumn in Pets at Home’s flagship store in Stockport, Cheshire. There are already plans for further openings in Newport, St. Helens and Norwich.

Pets at Home is the largest pet care retailer in the UK with over 310 stores and 5,000 employees and the RSPCA is the UK’s largest animal welfare organisation, with more than 160 local branches and 80 clinics and animal rehoming centres.

RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said: “At a time when we are seeing increasing numbers of animals being abandoned, the potential of a long-term relationship could be enormous, from increasing rehoming by the RSPCA, as well as helping to educate people about animal care and welfare.

“We clearly have many areas in common, so together we could bring benefits for countless animals. Both Pets at Home and the RSPCA have a strong interest in happy and healthy pets. Now the work begins to explore what else we can achieve together.”

Both organisations hope and expect there to be a range of potential animal welfare benefits:

· From the number of animals rehomed, neutered or microchipped, the two organisations have a wealth of information about the nation’s pets. This may reveal key animal welfare trends and data that could be used to improve planning, education campaigns and provision of services.

· Giving the right advice to potential owners, and only ensuring pets are rehomed to those that can take care of them are at the heart of both organisations' aims. This agreement will enable that message with jointly branded literature to reach a much wider range of people.

· Joint promotional work to give specific advice to people on the dietary and welfare needs of rabbits and other small pets.

· Communicating clear messages on responsible pet ownership to reduce the number of people taking on an animal without clear knowledge of how to care for them.

Pets at Home chief executive Nick Wood said: "At Pets at Home, we are passionate about pets and their welfare is our top priority. This partnership will see us working with the RSPCA on several exciting projects over the next few years.

“Pet adoption is something that we are dedicated to and this partnership will allow us to further raise awareness of the cause. This is the second ground-breaking partnership we have forged over the past year, having successfully launched Advice and Adoption Areas with the Dogs Trust in three of our stores. Together, we can work to make sure that more abandoned pets are given a second chance of happiness in new loving homes.

“We’re also dedicated to promoting responsible pet ownership and take great care in helping customers make the right decision when considering bringing a new pet into their family, so that lifelong homes are established. By developing Pets at Home and RSPCA joint branded pet care literature we are ensuring our customers are getting the best advice possible.

“Another aspect of responsible pet ownership that we both support is microchipping. By launching this service in all of our stores we are making it more accessible and affordable for pet owners to get their pet microchipped.”

Gavin added: “Despite excellent campaigning by many animal welfare charities, we know that we still need to educate people about their pets, and particularly about the importance of neutering and microchipping.

“We know the RSPCA’s messages don’t always reach every animal owner. Some people are simply not interested in campaigns and animal welfare information. Whether we are providing direct advice in stores or through RSPCA leaflets and booklets, this partnership could enable us to get our advice to them, and that could make a huge difference to an animal’s life.”

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For more information contact the RSPCA Press Office on 0300 123 0244 / 0288 or for

Pets at Home’s press office, Claire Boyd at Euro RSCG on 0161 236 2277

RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288 Fax: 0303 123 0099
Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 08448 222888 and ask for pager number 828825
Email: press@rspca.org.uk Website: www.rspca.org.uk

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