Celebrities turn out to launch Battersea Dogs and Cats Home redevelopment


Amanda Holden, Dame Jacqueline Wilson and Paul O’Grady are the charity’s ambassadors


By Jacqueline Fanchini

Celebrity dog-lovers were at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home yesterday as refurbishing began to improve living and recreational standards for the canines.

Construction has been pushed forward because of TFL’s plans to extend the Northern Line, the works of which will be undertaken under the home’s current rehoming and vet clinics.

The charity’s celebrity ambassadors, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, David Gandy, Amanda Holden and Paul O’Grady were there to launch the refurbishment.

“Battersea’s staff and volunteers do outstanding work in providing the dogs with the love and care they so desperately need, but the kennels urgently need to be updated to cope with the thousands of dogs that come into its care each year,” urged Dame Wilson.

The current facilities have bad drainage problems, no natural light, and are too noisy.

Estates and Safety Manager at Battersea, John Hoskin, explained that they are unfit for purposes and need replacing.

“Once the works have been completed the dogs will enjoy new dedicated sleeping, eating and playing areas, under floor heating and exercise paddocks,” he said.

“To reduce the chance of infection spreading there will be a focus on hygiene, with improved drainage, quarantine and isolation areas.”

Except for those who cannot be separated, each dog will have its own kennel linked with a semi-external run with 56 kennels in total divided over four blocks of 14.

The glass doors, windows, and infrastructure will be soundproofed so as to reduce noise-induced stress caused by the overhead railways.

Under the previous bad conditions dogs were especially susceptible to kennel cough, a highly contagious and sometimes life-threatening virus.

Contracting it could extend a dog’s stay for as many as 51 days, which is unsuitable as the charity aims to rehome the animals as quickly as possible.

Last year 10,323 people called in wanting to give up their dog so it is essential for rehousing to be swift as the numbers are unmanageable otherwise.

Generous support has seen £2.9million already raised but another £1.9million is required in order for the John Clark Architects headed project to be completed.

The charity has thus launched its largest appeal to date, encouraging people to ‘Pay for a Day’ by donating £15.70 in order to help the cause.

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