What do you do if you come across an abandoned pet in distress?

Readers may remember the horrific story of a paralysed ferret dumped in a dog waste bin in Uplands Stroud last week.

Sadly, due its injuries, the ferret had to be put down. But should it happen again - perish the thought - the SNJ took a tour of Cotswold Dogs and Cats Home based in Cambridge to find out what should be done.

Stroud News and Journal:  

The paralysed ferret found in a bin near Stroud

Kate Sims, who heads up animal welfare at CDCH, was equally shocked by the story.

She was also frustrated; her charity is a leading animal rescue centre in the Cotswolds with a clinic only a stone’s throw away from where the ferret was abandoned.

Kate doesn’t rule out the possibility the ferret was the victim of intentional cruelty. But, she suggests, often people can be embarrassed when their pets get injured under their own watch, and they may avoid help out of shame.

Stroud News and Journal:

The CDCH holds open days, and has plans to expand its shop

However, Kate stresses the CDCH is “not here to judge people” and instead should be a first port of call when things go wrong.

The shelter currently keeps just dogs and cats - though Kate hopes it will soon look after ferrets and rabbits too.

Buster is a typical CDCH resident. He was just skin and bones after being found in his owner’s garden. Three weeks at the shelter have turned him around and he’s ready to find a new home. In the meantime, he spends his days welcoming visitors at reception.

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CDCH spotted and removed a tumour on Jess's spleen

The CDCH provides care to all the animals it finds, drawing up individual plans and assigning dedicated carers to ensure they get back on their feet as soon as possible.

This is because for Kate the key to recovery is “trust”. The top priority for Cuddles, who suffers from thickening of the heart, is to get him used to being handled.

Stroud News and Journal:

Cuddles must take medicine every day for his heart

Recovery can also mean taking tough decisions. An RSPCA inspector brought Dougie to the shelter with severe wounds on his leg - it had to be amputated to save its life.

Aside from malice or shame, Kate underlines the role poverty and misfortune play in the shelter’s cases. Many owners must part with their pets when they're taken into care.

Stroud News and Journal:

Josie came to the shelter with Buster - as a rule the CDCH keeps pairs together

Others struggle to pay veterinary costs, so the CDCH provides supported adoption. It also runs a twice weekly clinic in Stroud which can aid those on benefits pay for treatment as humble as ensuring animals are flea free, as well as for getting pets neutered.

Plans are underway for an education centre as well.

Stroud News and Journal:

Ralphie had to be given up by a single mother

The vast majority of the CDCH's funding comes from its charity shops in Cirencester, Cam and Dursley - all staffed by volunteers.

Kate repeatedly praises the work of her team - people like Duncan, who wanted a job more fulfilling than his long stint at an IT company.

Stroud News and Journal:

After a career in IT, Duncan now spends his days loving cats

If you ever come across an injured pet, Kate says the best thing to do is call the RSPCA’s cruelty helpline on 0300 1234 999.

And for more information on the CDHC and its work - and how you can adopt - visit their website: https://www.cotswoldsdogsandcatshome.org.uk/