Sunderland, Hartlepool and South Tyneside Branch

Author Archives: Joel Alderson

  1. Foster February – RSPCA equine centre searches for temporary homes for ponies

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    Horse-owners are invited to give something back this February and consider fostering a horse or pony.

    If you have the skills to handle a youngster, provide essential care for a mare and foal, or have experience of bringing on underweight horses, you can put your knowledge to good use and give something back.

    With over 500 horses in its care and more being rescued each week, the RSPCA remains stretched for places for horses. The charity relies on a number of foster carers to provide experienced temporary homes, and this February, RSPCA Felledge Equine Centre is appealing to horse owners in the area to join those already offering a stable.Horse at Felledge © RSPCA

    RSPCA equine rehoming officer Jacqueline Wilson says: “We are desperately seeking foster homes for over thirty young horses here in the north of England, and would like to see as many of those into caring temporary homes as possible by the time March is here.

    “We can only do that with the support of kind and caring people who are prepared to provide a stable to give a lucky rescue horse time to mature and rehabilitate.

    “Many of the horses will move onto find their forever homes and be capable of achieving a great deal thanks to a great experience in a foster home early on in their lives.”

    Pauline Bell has been fostering ponies from the RSPCA for four years, and describes the process as ‘an absolute joy.’

    At her yard in Crook in County Durham, Pauline, a former-teacher, is currently taking care of Kamali and Hercules, her sixth and seventh youngsters from RSPCA Felledge Equine Centre.

    Pauline said: “It truly is the most rewarding thing to see the ponies blossom. I have always taken them in pairs as youngsters, and they have always been so sweet and full of character.

    “My husband and I had our own horses for over thirty years but when they passed away we found ourselves terribly missing having them around and doing all the things like grooming, changing rugs and mucking out. Then when I heard the RSPCA was looking for foster homes, I went along to Felledge Equine Centre to find out more. It’s been ideal for us, we’ve never looked back!”

    Pauline added: “It is very hard to see them go when they are a little older and ready to be rehomed, but I really enjoy hearing updates on how they are getting on – being ridden by children, going to riding camps or happily hacking out. It’s the life they really deserve and I’m happy that I can provide them with a loving home to start them off on their journey.

    “I would say to any horse person who has thought of fostering before; do it! At least go along to RSPCA Felledge and find out more. You’ll always have the back-up of the centre and take it from me, the only difficult bit is giving them back.”

    Fostering can improve the welfare of sensitive horses and ponies who struggle to cope in a sometimes busy animal centre environment. One-to-one care in a foster home can offer opportunities for certain horses with specific needs, such as recovery from a veterinary procedure or behavioural issues such as lack of trust or confidence. As horses thrive on routine, a quiet, well-run yard is often the perfect tonic for a horse or pony that has suffered an ordeal such as neglect, cruelty or abandonment, and all of these factors stand them in far better stead for finding an adopter and settling well into a loving home in the future.

    Christine Brown from Haydon Bridge in Northumberland also knows first-hand the rewards that fostering a horse or pony can bring.

    She said: “I would encourage horsey-people to go for it – it’s the best thing I ever did. I don’t own my own horses but during the last three years I have fostered four ponies. I currently have Nualla and Mickey who are both youngsters, but they are uncomplicated to care for and I enjoy it so much.

    “It is difficult to say goodbye when they go on to be rehomed but I am so glad I can give them the time to just relax for a year or two and settle into a normal horse life.”

    If you would like to find out more about fostering a horse or pony from the RSPCA, the team at Felledge Equine Centre will be happy to offer advice and an insight into what is involved. Please contact  Lisa Paulin on 0300 123 0724 or Jacqui Wilson on 07825158255 or visit

  2. Suspended prison sentences and life animal ban for Consett couple

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    A man and woman from Consett, County Durham have been given 12 week prison sentences suspended for 12 months and disqualified from keeping animals for life after allowing their dog to suffer.

    Jess, a female American bulldog, had multiple conditions including entropion, a painful condition where the eyelids fold inwards, an infected facial abscess, ear and skin infections and thickening of all the pads on her feet, resulting in thick horny growths which meant she could barely walk.Jess © RSPCA

    Vincent John Lloyd (D.O.B 6.8.65) and Sharon Patricia Lloyd (D.O.B 11.4.72), both of Chaytor Road, appeared at Darlington Magistrates Court on Friday (27 November) where they admitted, between 12 August 2014 and 12 August 2015, causing unnecessary suffering to Jess by failing to provide proper and necessary veterinary care.

    RSPCA inspector Heidi Cleaver said: “This poor dog was in a very sorry state and was undoubtedly suffering.

    “I’ve never seen anything like the growths from the pads on her feet which would have been obvious to anyone. She could barely walk as a result.

    “Her face was oozing puss from the infected abscess and her eyes were secreting discharge from the painful entropion.”

    Jess © RSPCARSPCA inspector Cleaver attended the Lloyd’s home on 12 August this year after a call from a concerned member of the public. Jess was taken straight to a local veterinary practice and she was taken into possession by police on veterinary advice. Sadly, once under sedation, it became clear to the vet that the most humane thing to do was to put her to sleep and that was done with the owner’s consent.

    Mr and Mrs Lloyd were also ordered to pay £162.12 and an £80 victim surcharge each.


    RSPCA inspector Cleaver said: “Owning an animal is a luxury, it isn’t a right, and meeting the needs of the animals in your care is a responsibility, which includes providing veterinary care as and when it is needed.

    “This couple failed Jess miserably, and left her miserable and suffering as a result.”


  3. It’s been another busy year for our inspectors! Here are some top animal rescues from 2015

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    Rescue stories

    Between January 1 2015 and November 30 2015, the National 24-hour cruelty line received 1,055,825 calls from the public. Some of those callers were given advice or put in touch with alternative agencies, while other reports were investigated by inspectors as possible neglect or cruelty cases, and others led to dramatic animal rescues.

    Here are some of the most heartbreaking, heartwarming and dramatic rescues of the year:

    Rescued from a recliner

    Lhasa Apso stuck in sofa © RSPCA

    Lhasa Apso ‘Cagney’ found herself in a tight spot when she got wedged in a reclining chair on the evening of October 29.

    RSPCA Animal Welfare Officer David Hatton attended the house in Swinton, Salford, along with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service who cut the little dog out after an hour of being trapped with her legs sticking out.

    Luckily, she was freed uninjured and seemed unfazed by the whole drama!

     Abseiling to safety

    Our Inspectors will go to any lengths to save an animal in danger. Andy Broadbent and Mike Pugh proved that in August when they abseiled down a sea cliff to rescue a stranded ewe at Trwyn Cilan near Hell’s Mouth Bay, in Abersoch, Wales.

    It’s believed she’d been stuck 20-30 meters down for around two weeks before being caught and hoisted back to safety.

    Watch the whole drama unfold:

    Rescued ewe © RSPCA

    Fox rescued by a whisker

    Fox stuck in a fence © RSPCA
    It wasn’t a good day for one young fox who got his head stuck between two wooden fence panels in Tyneside.

    A member of the public spotted the fox, in South Shields, on July 5, and RSPCA Animal Collection Officer Bryan Moffitt attended.

    He was worried the fox was dead as he was so still but, luckily, after removing him, it was clear he wasn’t injured.

    Bryan then drove him to a nearby field and released him.

    Lucky cat!

    A driver had a surprise when she arrived home in Stockport following a 30-minute drive from Manchester airport after discovering a cat which had climbed into the engine for the ride!
    The cat, who we named Lucky, was removed from under the bonnet on February 20 and was taken to our Warrington Halton and St Helens branch.
    He wasn’t microchipped but, luckily for Lucky, his owner Ian Southworth saw him when he was checking news websites online while on holiday in Dubai.
    He and his family were reunited with the cat, real name Bubbles, when they returned from holiday and took him home to Cheshire.
    Cat rescued from car engine © RSPCA

     Ferret in a fix

    Ferret caught in fence © RSPCA
    This little ferret found himself in difficulty when he got his body stuck in a metal railing not just once, but twice!

    The critter, later named Whoops, got his body trapped in fencing in Ossett, West Yorkshire, on November 10.

    RSPCA Inspector Charly Wain and firefighters attended to help the little ferret but it was clear they wouldn’t be able to free him. So they cut the fence and took him to the vets to be carefully removed.

    The ferret, thought to be a stray, was lucky to escape the tricky situation without being hurt and was taken in to be rehomed.

    Thrown out with the rubbish

    It wasn’t the best start to life for a litter of puppies found abandoned in a litter bin. But, luckily for them, we took them in and found them forever homes.

    The mastiff-cross pups were found in a bin by children on March 6 in Queensferry, Deeside. The babies were so young some of them still had umbilical cords attached.

    They – Brenda, Roxy (now renamed Lady), Willow, Jonny (now known as Kai), Tinker (nicknamed Lula Tink), Spud, and Snippet (now called Buddy) – are now thriving in their new homes.

    Watch a video of the puppies when they were first rescued:

    Three mastiff-cross puppies © RSPCA


    Hedgehog caught in fence © RSPCA
    We and fire service came to the aid of a hedgehog who had gorged on a few too many worms and got himself stuck in a gate in Suffolk over the summer.

    The hog misjudged his own girth and got himself stuck between the railings of a gate, in Newmarket, on June 14.

    A passer-by spotted the prickly porker in a tight spot and called us. We then turned to local firefighters for help to free him. Specialist equipment was used to widen the bars so he could be lifted out safely.

    After spending a night in our care to ensure he was unhurt, the hedgehog was returned to the wild the following day.

    Fole in a hole

    Anna was just a week old when she was found stuck in a big hole, in a field, on May 15.

    She was rescued by our Inspectors, and taken to our Millbrook Animal Centre, in Chobham, Surrey.

    The skewbald filly was hand-reared alongside her new friend, Elsa, and foal Gerry by staff and is now doing well.

    It’s hoped that she will be rehomed in the new year.

    Foal in a hole © RSPCA

    Moo-ve along

    We and local firefighters were called by police to help a heifer who got her head stuck between two trees on a steep bank in Alfreton, Derbyshire, on June 20.

    The poor cow was very weak and dehydrated, and was surrounded by four large uncastrated male Limousin bulls.

    Jets of water were used to keep the ‘angry bulls’ away and the trees were winched apart to free the cow.

    Watch the rescue take place:

    Sticky situation

    A corn snake had a lucky escape after getting stuck to an adhesive trap in a London home.

    The snake – which didn’t belong to the homeowner and is thought to have escaped from a vivarium nearby – had slithered onto the glue board, set in the kitchen of a South Norwood home to catch a mouse, and got stuck fast.

    Our Animal Collection Officer (ACO) Rosie Leach attended on October 26 and took the snake to Putney Animal Hospital where he was carefully freed.

    ACO Leach said:

    We have serious concerns about the use of these traps as they can cause a great deal of suffering to the animals who get caught in them – who are basically left to die a slow, lingering death.

    Snake stuck on glue trap © RSPCA


  4. RSPCA flood rescue teams save animals and people during storm

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    Four flood rescue teams of RSPCA specially trained officers have been out rescuing animals and people during Storm Desmond.RSPCA flood rescue team © RSPCA

    Cats, dogs, rabbits and even chickens have all been rescued, mainly from residential properties across the north of England, where their owners were forced to evacuate the rising flood waters.As well as helping animals, our flood teams have also been assisting other emergency services and have so far rescued 36 people.

    Among those was a semi-conscious elderly man who had to be stretchered out of a nursing home in Carlisle and transported on one of our boats, before he was taken to hospital.

    It’s extremely difficult getting to where we need to be

    The RSPCA received calls about 77 flooding incidents since Friday, 4 December, with 20 flood trained officers travelling from across England and Wales to join their colleagues in Cumbria and Northumberland to assist the ongoing rescue operation.

    So far RSPCA flood rescue teams have rescued eight dogs, seven cats, four rabbits and three chickens in the aftermath of storm Desmond.

    Inspector Ben Strangwood, who has coordinated our flood response, said:

    It’s been a huge challenge as the flooding is so widespread across a large geographical area.

    Although the water levels are receding in some areas, elsewhere the water levels are expected to remain quite high which is leaving many roads inaccessible. It’s extremely difficult to get around to where we need to be.

    We’ve received a lot of calls, mainly to help people who’ve had to leave their animals when they’ve evacuated their homes. However, we’ve also had to contend with extremely dangerous conditions and fast flowing water.

    It’s good to be able to make a difference

    Inspector Stangwood said we’re likely to have flood rescue teams working in the north of England throughout the rest of the week. He added:

    “We’ve been pitching in and helping the other agencies, including helping to move people to safety.

    “It’s good to be able to put our training to use and be able to make a difference to those animals and people in need our help.”

    Owners of animals in areas at risk of flooding are advised to move them to higher ground or other areas of safety.

    Members of the public are urged never to put their own or another person’s life in danger to attempt an animal rescue.

    Anyone who wishes to report an animal emergency can call us on 0300 1234 999.

    Read more of our flood advice.

    We need your support

    We can only carry out rescues and assist during the floods thanks to your help

  5. Puppies not as precious as scrap metal under English law, claims RSPCA

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    RSPCA launches #ScrapThePuppyTrade campaign to bring in laws to protect puppies from callous and cruel puppy dealers

    Press release: 12 October 2015

    Puppies are being treated worse than scrap metal, according to the RSPCA which today launched a petition calling on the UK Government to clamp down on people selling sick dogs in England.

    Dogs on a pile of scrap metal © RSPCA

    Due to its low cost, low risk and high yield appeal, puppy dealing is an attractive option for people willing to make money at the expense of puppies’ health and welfare and the heartache of families up and down the country.

    The charity says that more laws exist to regulate the trade in scrap metal than the puppies and has launched a petition calling on the Westminster to introduce the ‘Puppy Dealers Act’ in England and clampdown on puppy dealers in the same way.

    RSPCA chief vet James Yeates said: “Puppy trafficking is big business with dealers getting rich and leaving a trail of dead puppies and heartbroken families in their wake.

    “We believe these poor pups are bought in bulk by dealers looking for the highest profit margin. In many cases the puppies are too young to be away from their mothers and are sick when they are loaded onto vans, before travelling hundreds of miles.

    “In 2013 the government brought in new laws to tackle the criminal scrap metal trade in England. But now it’s puppies who are being traded like scrap with no regard for their welfare, or even if they live or die.

    “It is far too easy to sell puppies and current laws are failing puppies and their parents. The RSPCA wants to see Westminster treat the issue of puppy dealing in England as seriously as they did scrap metal and license anyone who sells a puppy.”

    The RSPCA is calling for mandatory licensing for anyone selling puppies in England to try to hit puppy trade as a whole – from organised illegal trafficking to opportunistic backstreet breeding. This would mean:

    • Anyone selling a puppy must have a licence.
    • Strong penalties & fines for anyone caught selling a puppy without a licence.
    • A national database of puppy sellers (funded by licence fees) to aid enforcement.
    • All internet and offline advertisers (like Pets4Homes, PreLoved, Friday Ad) must display the licence number of the seller in order to list an advert.

    “While this would not stop illegal trading altogether, it would help to remove the huge layer of unregulated puppy dealing we’re currently battling, it would give local authorities the tools they need to act and improve protections for puppy buyers,” added James.

    In response to a survey* carried out on behalf of the RSPCA in June 2015, more than 2 million (2,040,000) people* said they had bought a puppy in the last year. The RSPCA believes that huge numbers of puppies are being trafficked into the country from other EU countries to meet the high demand for pedigree and designer cross-breed puppies in the UK.

    Only 63% of adults who have purchased a puppy within the last year surveyed were able to say they were confident that the person they bought the puppy from bred the puppy.

    This week the RSPCA uncovered the deception by one set of dealers who made around £140,000 a month in undeclared cash duping unsuspecting members of the public and selling them sick and suffering puppies.

    Under different guises this trio lied to buyers, telling them the puppies for sale had been bred in a homely, family environment and were the first litter. The reality was that weekly deliveries of pups arrived via the ferry from the Republic of Ireland and be kept in pods at a ‘holding’ address while advertised on the internet, before being sold from a network of rented residential properties set up to look like family homes.

    Puppies that died were callously dumped in wheelie bins.

    Nacho the Pomeranian puppy, a victim of the puppy trade

    One victim of the deceit was Leanne Lamont from Glasgow (pictured). Her young Pomeranian puppy died in her arms just days after she travelled to England and unknowingly bought him from the underground puppy dealing ring.

    Leanne said: “I found the advert for the puppies online and everything seemed really good. They would only sell to loving homes, they would show outstanding examples of how tiny puppies should be bred and cared for. They seemed perfect.

    “When I arrived at the house I was met by a woman who told me her auntie was the breeder. The house was very clean and everything looked fine. She gave the impression these puppies were coming from a loving family home.”

    However Nacho was seriously ill and just days later took a turn for the worse and started having seizures and Leanne made the difficult decision to put her pet to sleep.

    She said: “He was incredibly ill and I didn’t want him to be in pain any more. I held him in my arms. He was just so tiny. All skin and bones. He was still gorgeous but just so very ill. The vet gave him the injection and he died there in my arms.”

    “They told me Nacho was 12 weeks old when I picked him up but I think he was closer to six weeks old. He was so ill. I just could not believe someone could be so cruel and calculating as those dealers.”

    The RSPCA is now urging people to join help tell Westminster that puppies are more precious than pieces of metal by signing our petition at

    Notes to editors:
    * This study was conducted in Great Britain via TNS OnLineBus, an Internet omnibus survey. A sample of 4018 GB adults aged 16-64 were interviewed and interviewing was conducted by online self-completion from 16/06/2015 – 29/06/2015. The sample has been weighted to represent the adult population of Great Britain 16-64.

    Relevant documents
  6. RSPCA fights firework fear for our four-legged friends

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    RSPCA receives hundreds of calls relating to fireworks every year

    Press release: Thursday 15 October 2015

    The RSPCA is issuing advice for pet owners in the run up to another busy bonfire night season.

    Last year the RSPCA received 364 calls relating to fireworks in October and November – more than in both 2013 (310) and 2012 (326).

    Fireworks at a public firework display © Andrew Forsyth / RSPCA Photolibrary

    Research shows that up to 45 per cent of dogs may be fearful of fireworks* so to help combat the problem the RSPCA has come up with some advice to help pet owners.

    RSPCA Scientific Officer Lisa Richards said: “As the winter months draw in many of us look forward to going to local bonfire and fireworks festivities.

    “The RSPCA want to make sure the enjoyment is for everyone – as animals may become distressed or confused at what is happening.

    “We would always advise letting your vet know of any signs of stressed or unusual behaviour in your animal so they can give you advice to help your pet in the long-term, but there are also some quick tips to help you and your pet during the fireworks.”

    The RSPCA advises:

    • For any pet, whether it be a dog, cat, rabbit or rodent, make sure you provide suitable hiding places with extra bedding where they can feel safe. This is also true for animals that live outside.
    • Close all windows and curtains.
    • Play music or put on the television to muffle the fireworks, using a Sounds Scary! CD to help dogs learn to be less afraid of loud noises.
    • Make sure they’re kept in a safe place during any display.
    • Never punish or fuss over them as it can make things worse.
    • Make sure your pets are microchipped in case they escape.
    • Give your dog their walk earlier in the day.
    • Never ever take a dog to a fireworks display – even if they don’t make noise – it’s still highly likely to be a stressful situation for them.
    • Pheromone diffusers may  help dogs and cats feel calmer.

    The RSPCA would also ask organisers to be vigilant and give plenty of notice to people in the area and also to ensure there are no farm or zoo animals in the area who may be affected.
    Wildlife can also be burned to death by bonfires so organisers should check them carefully before lighting to make sure there are no wild animals nesting or hiding inside.  It helps to build the bonfire as near as possible to the time of lighting, or move them before lighting, to ensure hedgehogs and other wildlife are not sleeping in the pile when it is lit.

     Notes to editors

  7. Advice for pet owners during the fireworks season

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    RSPCA receives hundreds of calls relating to fireworks every year


    Advice for pet owners during the fireworks season Infographic - RSPCA

    Fireworks frighten animals- An infographic created by the RSPCA


    Many animals find fireworks scary. It is estimated that 45 per cent of dogs in the UK show signs of fear when they hear fireworks.

    It doesn’t have to be that way though, so don’t ignore the problem. Firework phobia is a treatable condition and animals don’t have to suffer such misery every year. Seek advice from your vet who will, if necessary, be able to refer you to a professional clinical animal behaviourist.

    There are also lots of simple things you can do to help your pet deal with fireworks. By preparing in advance before fireworks start your pet will be better able to cope with the noises.

    Download our leaflet ‘Fireworks frighten animals – help them feel safe (PDF 192KB)‘ which includes:

    • lots of great tips for keeping your pets secure during fireworks. Follow our top tips to make firework celebrations less frightening for your pet.
    • information on keeping dogs, cats and small animals safe during fireworks.
    • introducing ‘Sounds Scary’ – a therapy pack aimed to teach your dog to be less afraid of loud noises. Sound Therapy 4 Pets.

    Acknowledgement for this information is made to Prof Daniel Mills. Read more about our Expert contributors.

  8. Hedgehog family burnt in bonfire

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    Please remember to check carefully before lighting fires this autumn

    We’re warning people to be careful lighting fires this autumn after a hedgehog and her three babies were caught in the flames of a bonfire.

    Hedgehog with burns to its back © RSPCA

    The mother hog and her three youngsters were taken to our East Winch Wildlife Centre near King’s Lynn, Norfolk on Sunday evening (4 October) after being discovered in a fire in a back garden in Norfolk.

    Manager at the centre Alison Charles said:

    “All four had burnt skin or spines and were suffering from smoke inhalation and sadly the mum hedgehog died shortly after arrival. Our vets said it was likely a combination of heat and smoke which killed her.

    Her three daughters have survived but we are keeping a close eye on them, as problems caused by smoke inhalation can take a while to show sometimes.

    “This sad story is, unfortunately, not an uncommon one for us at this time of year. It’s a cautionary reminder as we enter the fireworks and bonfire season about the importance of taking the time to check bonfires before they’re lit.”

    Check bonfires before starting them

    Alison added:

    The members of the public who brought this hedgehog family in were really upset as they did the right thing and actually had checked the bonfire before starting it – but just didn’t see them. They did see the hogs once the fire was lit, and pulled them out, but not until it was too late for the mum, unfortunately.

    It can be very hard to see a brown hedgehog in amongst a pile of wood, and the only way to be sure is to move the bonfire before actually lighting it. It helps to build the bonfire as near as possible to the time of lighting, to ensure hedgehogs and other wildlife are not sleeping in the pile when it is lit.

    The surviving hedgehogs are doing well but are very young so they’ll need some time in our care to recuperate and gain weight before being returned to the wild, well away from bonfires.

    Find out more information about caring for hedgehogs and some seasonal advice for autumn.

  9. Big Walkies – Best. Walk. Ever.

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    It was waggy tails all around!

    Thanks for joining us on a Sunny Sunday and making it the best walk ever – helping us protect more dogs and other animals from cruelty and neglect. We hope you had a safe journey home and that your doggies slept soundly after an eventful day.



     It was amazing to meet so many gorgeous dogs and judging by all the waggy tails they all enjoyed their day. We welcomed 150 dogs and over 250 people to yesterday’s walk for an epic take-over of Herrington Country Park and we can’t wait to start planning for next year!

    Don’t forget to share your pictures with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #BigWalkies – we’d love to see your doggies enjoying themselves.


    We’ll let you know soon how much money you and your dog have helped us to raise.

    A special thank you to all our volunteers and supporters who came along to help set up very early in the morning, registered the walkers, handing out T-shirts for the owner and bandanas for the dogs. They cheered as the walkers set off and welcomed them back with their goody bags.
    Along with are friends at Felledge Animal Centre we would also like to thank the following companies for supporting us on the day, Vets4Pets Sunderland, Star Paw Photography, GB Communications., Café on the Park and the staff at Herrington Country Park.

    Check out our Facebook page and Star Paws for more photos

  10. Monkey trouble: Plight of primates behind closed doors

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    The suffering of monkeys across the UK is highlighted as animal health and welfare groups launch campaign to end the keeping of primates as pets

    Press release: Thursday 24 September 2015

    Cooped up in cages, fed fast food and sugary drinks, deprived of friends, living in dirt and suffering from disease. These shocking images show some of the appalling conditions primates are being kept in behind closed doors across Britain.

    Gripps old home © Wild Futures

    Animal health and welfare groups are finding that the number of calls with concerns about pet primates are on the increase.

    An estimated 5,000 primates* are being kept as pets in the UK and rescue groups such as the RSPCA and Wild Futures receive approximately one call a week relating to the welfare of a monkey.

    Marmosets, capuchins and squirrel monkeys are just some of the primates being kept as pets, destined for unnecessary suffering in an unnatural environment.

    The Born Free Foundation, British Veterinary Association (BVA), Captive Animals’ Protection Society, Four Paws, OneKind, the RSPCA and Wild Futures believe the cases of suffering they encounter on a frequent basis are just the tip of the iceberg and they have today launched a petition calling on the governments in the UK to introduce regulations that will end the keeping and trading of these complex creatures as pets.

    RSPCA staff officer, inspector Simon Osbourne said: “The large coalition of organisations that are calling for an end to the keeping and trade of primates for pets reflects what an urgent issue this has become.

    “It doesn’t matter how well intentioned the owner is, primates are not suitable pets. All primates, hand-reared or not, are wild animals. They are highly intelligent beings that need specialist care in captivity. The complex environment that a primate needs can never be provided in a house.”

    “We find them living in bird cages, being fed sugary drinks and sweets and living in filthy conditions. Even when the owner has good intentions the animals’ needs are not being met because primates are so difficult to keep and it is extremely complicated to ensure their welfare needs are being met.

    “While everyone is aware that everyday domestic pets such as cats and dogs are the subject of RSPCA investigations up and down the country many are unaware of some of the more unusual creatures that are helped by us. And the truth is that the number of primates that are being helped by us is growing.”

    Director at Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary Rachel Hevesi said: “We witness the effects of this cruel and unnecessary trade on a daily basis. Every primate that we have rescued has arrived with physical and/or psychological damage.

    “It can take years of intensive care for them to recover. It is inspiring to see such positive changes, but heartbreaking to see the struggle along the way.”

    The trend for keeping primates is on the up – but because of the specific needs of these animals their level of suffering is extreme.

    To sign the petition to #ProtectPrimates visit

    Break out box of primate facts:

    • Primates need to live in social groups – in 60% of cases investigated by the RSPCA these animals were being kept alone in isolation.
    • Usually sold as infants, pet primates suffer emotional damage and are deprived of essential social learning opportunities that continue to cause problems, Even if an owner tries to pair their primate up with another at a later date they may not get along and the damage has already been done.
    • The most common monkey that both Wild Futures and the RSPCA receives calls about is the marmoset monkey, one of the smallest monkeys in the world that generally lives for around 20 years.
    • Frequently kept in a bird cage as a pet, in the wild they travel up to 0.6 of a mile every day.
    • The RSPCA has taken seven prosecutions to court over the last six years in regards to primates. That averages at more than one per year.
    • 15 European countries have already introduced a ban on keeping primates as pets, of either all or some species. We now need the governments in the UK to follow.

    Notes to editors:

    Please refer to the PDF for quotes and contact details from the organisations suppoting this joint campaign.