Wood Green Animal Shelter
Wood Green is Europe's largest animal shelter facility. It comprises three shelters based in England in London, Heydon and Godmanchester (near Cambridge). The original Wood Green shelter was founded by Miss Louisa Snow and opened in London in 1924. The original aim of the shelter was to provide a home for the ever-increasing number of homeless animals on the streets of London. Ten years later, mostly due to the influence of Mrs Joung who joined the charity, the aim of the shelter was changed from just giving shelter to the sick and abandoned animals to re-homing them. As a result of the huge success of the original shelter, a new Wood Green was opened in Heydon in 1954. Godmanchester is the newest addition to the Wood Green shelters and it was opened in 1984. The Godmanchester shelter is the largest of the three, occupying 54 acres of land. It homes everything from guinea pigs to farm animals and Llamas. The running costs are high but the shelter tries to minimise the costs by providing renewable resources where possible. So for example, the electricity is fully supplied by the shelter's own wind turbine. There is also a restaurant and a pet shop, the latter being very handy when you need to get things for a newly acquired pet, as well as giving the centre another source of funding.
The cats and kittens re-homing center has recently been fully renovated . It was re-opened by HRH the Countess of Wessex on the 1st of June 2006. It is a truly impressive shelter which has 4 stylish wooden houses which can give a home to 120 cats at any given time. Inside each of the houses seen on the picture, there are cat chalets with a separate sleeping and eating areas upstairs and a litter tray downstairs. The cat's history is displayed to prospective adopters outside each chalet.
Each of the residents has a time when she can roam around in a designated outside area. Since the cats are solitary animals, they are let out one or two at a time so none of them feel threatened. Once you have chosen your cat, you will be able to spend some time with her before making a final decision. Actually, there is never pressure to make a quick decision and the staff recommends that you visit your cat a couple of times in the shelter before taking her home. And make no mistake, you will be vetted carefully before you are accepted as a cat owner.
Wood Green staff always make a preliminary visit to your home to check conditions there, and to make sure that you and your prospective cat are well-suited to each other. But the success story is easily seen by the fact that an average cat only stays in the shelter for about 14 days finding a new home - and very few of these cats will be back in the shelter.
If you would like to know more about Wood Green, visit their website: http://www.woodgreen.org.uk/