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As well as founding the Ealing Animal Charities Fair, Marion Garnett has also, since 2011, written a weekly Animal Rescue column which is published in the West London local paper, the Gazette. Columns published since January 2019 are now available online here.


If you would like to see any of the columns published before 2019, please contact Marion directly (see Contacts page).

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Column 3rd June 2019


Last week we looked at what can happen when female cats aren’t neutered. Readers will remember Marilla, homeless herself, who gave birth to five kittens when she was only eight months old.


This week we’re looking at what can happen to male cats who aren’t neutered. Douglas, an un-neutered stray, was recently taken to the RSPCA Animal Hospital at Putney with a severely infected cat bite abscess on his face. Fighting is common in un-neutered male cats and injuries often occur which can have serious consequences. Douglas is now neutered and his wound is healing well. He’s a gorgeous, shy boy, looking for a calm home in which to settle. If this could be with you, Douglas is waiting at the RSPCA Cat Adoption Centre, Burket Close, Southall.


In order to reduce the number of unwanted animals and associated problems, neutering is vital. This can be done privately at a vet but, if money is scarce, here is an update on where free and reduced-cost neutering is available.


Mayhew offer a range of free and low-cost neutering at their vet clinic. They neuter bull breed dogs free. For details and to book an appointment call 020  8962 8017.  Alternatively, email vetclinic@mayhewanimalhome.org. Mayhew is at Trenmar Gardens, Kensal Green.


The London Cat Care and Control Consortium (C4) offer free neutering of cats subject to eligibility criteria. Go to cats.org.uk/C4 and see if you are eligible, then look at the website to find a vet who participates in the scheme. If you live in the required area and have been feeding a stray cat for at least fourteen days, the cat can be neutered under the C4 scheme. Alternatively, ask your vet if they participate in the scheme.

The RSPCA offer subsidised neutering in their clinic at Burket Close, Southall. For eligibility go to rspca.org.uk and type southall clinic into the search box. The clinic also has certain days when cats can be neutered free without appointment. The next day for female cats is Wednesday 19 June. If you’re interested or want to know the next date for male cats, phone 0300  123 0746 option 3 for details.  


Dogs Trust offer neutering for £50 if you live in the London boroughs and meet their eligibility criteria. For details see dogstrust.org.uk or call their neutering hotline on 0333  202 1148.


If you meet their eligibility criteria, Blue Cross offer neutering in exchange for a contribution. For details call 0300  777 1800 for their hospital in Hammersmith.


Column 10th June 2019


It’s not a good start to a singing competition to be told the group you’re in Bournemouth to support has so many coughs, their warm-up room sounds like an ancient TB ward. Like many occasions in life, in a competition, you only have a limited time to make a good impression.


As visitors pass through a rehoming centre, animals have only a short time to make a good impression on a potential owner. Just like Whitney Houston’s song, “One moment in time” (which was sung at the competition), sometimes when we have an opportunity we have to seize it.


Yani was in top form when I met her at the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) rehoming centre and together we seized the opportunity to become acquainted. She’s a beautiful older girl who needs a quiet home. If this could be with you, Yani is waiting at the NAWT centre, Tylers Way, Watford.


NAWT have a Summer Picnic with musical performances this Saturday June 15 (12pm-3pm), so you could meet her then. More details from nawt.org.uk.


While at Bournemouth I seized the opportunity to pay a visit to the nearby famous ape rescue centre, Monkey World. Readers will remember Dr Alison Cronin, the Director of this amazing sanctuary, gave a talk at the Ealing Animal Charities Fair last March and, I’m pleased to say, Alison and her team are attending the Fair again next March.

It’s clear that many of the animals at the Centre are there because Alison has seized a brief window of opportunity to rescue them from a lifetime of misery either as a photographer’s prop, circus animal or victim of the primate pet trade (a trade criticised by many including the recent Times Editorial May 31).


There was lots going on at the Centre but I particularly wanted to see the capuchin monkeys. In 2008, Monkey World rescued 88 capuchins from a Chilean research laboratory where some of them had lived for 20 years in small, individual cages with mesh floors. When asked to take the monkeys, Alison had to make the decision whether to undertake Monkey World’s biggest rescue ever and accept all the monkeys or leave some behind. She seized the moment, believed they could do it and took them all. One of the cages where the capuchins previously lived is on display and provides a stark contrast to the magnificent, natural environment in which they live now.


If you want a fantastic day out, Monkey World is at Longthorns, Dorset.


Column 17th June 2019


It’s easily done. Cats silently slip in and out of doors without a fanfare announcing their arrival, nobody notices, and, before you know it, they’re shut in – imprisoned somewhere they shouldn’t be. It could be a cupboard, shed, garage, empty house or vehicle. The animal charity, Mayhew, recently came to the rescue of a five-month old kitten, Kismis, who got herself into trouble by inviting herself into a lorry in Hounslow, no-one noticed and   she got shut in. Two days later Kismis was found on an industrial estate in Ealing with no idea how to get home. A concerned worker spotted her and contacted Mayhew who scanned her for a microchip which, fortunately, she had. Because Kismis had been microchipped, she was reunited with her owners later that day.


The story of Kismis reinforces the importance of two things. Firstly, we should look before we close sheds, garages etc to make sure we’re not shutting in an animal by mistake. And, secondly, the importance of microchipping our pets. Without a microchip, the chances of a lost pet being reunited with their owner are low.

The process of microchipping involves a microchip (the size of a grain of rice), with a unique number on it, being implanted into the back of the pet’s neck. The number is then stored on a central database together with the owner’s name and address. If a stray animal is found, it can be scanned for a microchip and reunited with its owner. It’s important for owners to keep their contact details up-to-date.


Microchipping is widely available at vets. Mayhew offer low-cost microchipping at their clinic, for details call 020  8962 8000. It’s a legal requirement that all dogs are microchipped.


Alexa is already microchipped, ready for her new home. She came into the care of Mayhew as a stray. As she is friendly, Mayhew think she must have been someone’s pet in the past but was then abandoned. She likes to get to know new people slowly but, when she’s ready, she will sit on your lap. If you would like to meet this lovely girl, she’s waiting at Mayhew, Trenmar Gardens, Kensal Green.


In order to raise funds, the George Michael Story are holding a live show with proceeds going to Mayhew – a charity close to his heart. The event takes guests on a musical journey through George Michael’s hits. It takes place on Sunday June 23 at The Clapham Grand. For details and tickets, see themayhew.org.


Column 24th June 2019


If cuddling a Saluki on the sofa is your idea of bliss, then Delilah could be your girl. She came into the care of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on April 30 after being found as a stray in Hanworth. When she arrived she was worried about noise so was taken away from Battersea’s busy city centre rehoming centre to one of their foster carers in the suburbs. She is very people-orientated and has become closely bonded to her foster carer who she follows round. She doesn’t like to be left but in her foster home she does now take herself into another room for up to forty minutes with music and a chew to keep her occupied.    

Although Delilah can be shy at first meeting, she likes to play with other dogs and particularly likes playing with slippers. She also enjoys going for long walks. Delilah is looking for owners with experience of sensitive dogs who either already know or are willing to research the Saluki breed traits. If you’re interested in homing Delilah, call Battersea on 0800 001  4444 or see battersea.org.uk.


While Delilah has been away in the country, volunteers at the central London Battersea site have been busy creating an urban jungle for residents who don’t get the opportunity to stay with a foster carer in a quieter part of the world. Using People’s Postcode Lottery funding, areas in which the dogs walk, have been transformed from concrete paths into a green haven. Across the centre, volunteers have grown different plants including rosemary and lavender to give the dogs plenty to smell. They’ve also created a sensory garden containing windchimes and sand pits for the dogs to explore. Changing neglected areas of the Home into such special exercise areas is a huge help to Battersea’s residents at a time when they may feel stressed and confused.


Spending time amongst plants can lift our spirits and Battersea are inviting us to join them, in the countryside, for a 5km walk in Hatchlands Park, Guildford. The occasion is their Pet Memory Walk on September 28.  It’s likely to be a popular event so it’s a good idea to book early.  We are invited to walk to celebrate a pet who may no longer be with us but who has brought joy to our lives. They are asking adult participants to raise at least £100 in sponsorship. Registration costs £15/adult, children are free. For details go to battersea.org.uk or call 020  7627 7883.



June 2019

Weekly column Subject Index