A local animal charity has issued a desperate appeal for help as it struggles to cope with the huge demand to look after animals whose owners have been taken into care.
Social Care Animals of Wigan (Scaw), a not-for-profit service, is currently working with Wigan Council to ensure that any animals taken into temporary care will be well-loved and cared for until they can be reunited with their owner.
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However, the group - which is run solely by volunteers - is struggling to keep up with the number of animals whose owners have been put into residential psychiatric care.
Donna Lee, who volunteers for the group, said: “Scaw was set up to help people in care homes and keep their pets united with them.
“But the reality is much different. Ninety per cent of these animals are owned by people who have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act or have drug addictions. We have got dogs coming in that are in serious need of vet treatment. As we work with the council they are funding a certain amount of that and we pay the rest.
“We are learning different things with each animal that comes in but we do need outside support.”
The group is appealing for people to donate everything from dog food to bedding and towels so that the dogs can be cared for and fosterers can be given help when they take on temporary ownership.
An appeal is also being made for cash donations, which will go towards any unexpected veterinary bills after the dog has been taken from the owner.
“We are doing this all in our spare time,” said Donna. “No one is taking a wage from it. But it is a slow process getting the dogs checked to make sure they have the correct vaccinations and treatments before they go to their foster homes.”
Dog fosterers are also in high demand. Although the charity also saves cats, there is already an arrangement with a local cattery who keep the animals sheltered until they are reunited.
Volunteers is searching for recommended licensed kennels that will board dogs long-term, with full payment from the council, while the relevant checks are carried out. Kennels can be situated outside the Wigan area.
To make donations call 07902 670185 or visit Scaw's Facebook page