About Woodgreen

Every year, Woodgreen’s dedicated teams work tirelessly to provide safe shelter, specialist care, and a brighter future for thousands of pets. And we’re here for owners in need of advice and support too, every step of the way.

Coco the Cockerpoo

Home of The Dog House

We’re honoured to give Channel 4 access to Woodgreen to see the work our handlers, vets, specialists and volunteers do every day to give animals another chance at life. Explore The Dog House and meet its stars.

Woodgreen staff member with a cat

How we help

Our teams work together to create an individual plan for every pet – from medical treatment to behaviour training. And when the pet is ready, we find them a loving home where they can live a happy, fulfilling life.

Woodgreen staff member outdoors with a dog

Our services and expertise

As well as taking in homeless pets, we provide a number of vital services for people including free, expert pet advice on the phone and online. Plus workshops, classes, outreach support and more.

Vet with a white cat

Together for pets: affiliations and partners

To make the biggest difference we can to the lives of pets and people, we work with multiple like-minded organisations. These valuable partnerships enable us to champion pet welfare and influence positive change.

Woodgreen team member on the phone

Media centre

Our experienced spokespeople are available for media interviews, or we can provide expert comments via email, on a range of topics.

Aerial view of Cat Centre

Snowden Cat Care Centre

Our new on-site cat accommodation is transforming the care we can provide to homeless cats.

Our brand new look

Helping pets in need will always be our priority. But the way we support pets – and people – has evolved. So we’ve made some changes to better reflect who we are and how we help.


In the last year


Pet related enquiries answered


Pets helped through all our services


Pets brought into our care


Veterinary procedures performed


Our success stories

Woodgreen rehome thousands of pets every year, each one with their own unique story and happy ending. Read some of our favourites.


Our policies

Our policies are informed by our experiences caring for pets and their owners over the last 100 years. If you would like to discuss our policies, get in touch.

Our ethical views on the care of all species. All representatives of Woodgreen are required to sign up to this policy.


To outline Woodgreen Pets Charity’s ethical views regarding the care of all species.


Woodgreen recognises that animals are sentient beings and has the view that quality of life is more important than quantity of life. Animal health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not defined by infirmity or the absence of disease.

It is recognised that all behaviour is a direct result of both physical and emotional states. While in the care of Woodgreen all animals must be treated with respect, empathy and an understanding of their natural welfare needs and biological make-up.

All animals’ current and future welfare will be safeguarded on both emotional and physical levels. They will be provided with a secure and protective environment, with or without a companion of their own species as appropriate, and the ability to express their natural behaviours.

Animals will be afforded access to appropriate veterinary care to ensure physical wellbeing and freedom from pain and discomfort.

If, for any reason, it is not possible to safeguard the emotional and physical needs of an animal within the Charity’s care its quality of life will be assessed and reviewed and appropriate action will be taken in a timely fashion.


Whilst it is recognised that individuals have their own opinions regarding animal welfare, when representing Woodgreen the viewpoint outlined above must be adopted.


This policy will be reviewed biennially by the Animal Welfare Committee.

November 2017


Animals whose emotional and physical needs cannot be safeguarded will be assessed and reviewed. If they are found to have untreatable or serious medical problems, or behavioural issues so severe that we believe we will be unable to safely rehome them, then euthanasia will be considered.

Decisions will be made in a timely fashion, in order to prevent prolonged physical or emotional suffering in line with the Animal Care Policy.


Our non-selective approach means that we deal with a wide range of animals, and as a result we regularly receive pets with serious medical conditions or behavioural problems. We give homeless and vulnerable pets the chance of a positive future, who would otherwise have nowhere else to go.

We do all we can to help pets overcome serious medical conditions, severe behavioural problems, or both, but sometimes a decision has to be made about putting them to sleep. Such decisions are never taken lightly or in isolation. Our team of experts assess each pet’s quality of life and, for those with behavioural problems, the risk to other pets and people.

Woodgreen Pets Charity recognises that animals are sentient beings and has the view that quality of life is more important than quantity of life. The charity believes that animal health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

The charity will not knowingly put the public or other animals at risk by rehoming animals considered as a potential threat to safety.

If a banned type of dog is identified, we are legally obliged to euthanise in order to comply with the law, taking required advice from the police. There are four banned dog types in Great Britain under the Dangerous Dogs Act – the Pit Bull Terrier, the Japanese Tosa, the Dogo Argentino and the Fila Brasileiro.

All animals are euthanised humanely and with empathy in accordance with the Animal Care Policy and current Veterinary practice.

All animals euthanised at Woodgreen are cremated.


If a decision is contested, the matter will be referred promptly to the Director of Care and Veterinary Services. Where appropriate, the matter may be referred to the Pet Services Committee.


This Policy will be reviewed biennially by the Pet Services Committee.

March 2021


To provide an efficient and sensitive intake process in which the welfare of the animal takes priority.
To provide a balance in the charity’s population based on available resources, excellent welfare practices and principles whilst reflecting the needs, requirements and capabilities of potential new owners.


Animals will be accepted at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately it is not always possible to accept animals immediately. Where resource or accommodation is not available, animals will be put on a waiting list and/or signposted to relevant, alternative charity services.

Emergencies will be prioritised and dealt with on a case-by-case basis and assessed on their individual needs by our appropriately trained teams.

Stray animals will be taken in from members of the public and local authorities with whom the charity has stray contracts. If not reunited with their owners, the animal will be held, cared for and rehomed in accordance with current legislation, best practice and the Charity’s Rehoming Policy.

Animals identified on enquiry / intake as having travelled / lived abroad may only be admitted in accordance with the Non UK Microchip Policy or Standard Procedure – Non UK Diseases.

The owner, joint owners or authorised agent when relinquishing the animal to Woodgreen, must ensure that they are entitled to do so and where required, must prove their identity. In the case of dogs, microchip legislation (The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015) must be adhered to.

Once an animal has been signed over to the charity it will not be returned to the owner, their relative, friend, breeder, or other organisation unless in exceptional circumstances.

Woodgreen has limited facilities for, and experience of, exotic and wild animals; such species will be triaged appropriately and signposted to specialist organisations.

The dog breeds detailed in Annex A will not be accepted, but advice and support will be offered.

The selection of animals for admission will be based on the guidelines in Annex B.


Any appeal should be referred to a Pet Services Senior Manager.


This Policy will be reviewed biennially by the Pet Services Committee.

Annex A
The dog breeds below are all banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 so will not be taken in by Woodgreen Pets Charity:
•    Any dog of the type known as the Pit Bull Terrier.
•    Any dog of the type known as the Japanese Tosa.
•    Any dog of the type known as the Dogo Argentino.
•    Any dog of the type known as the Fila Braziliero.

Annex B
Standard Procedure for the Selection of Animals
•    Emergencies will be given priority over less urgent cases.
•    Before accepting animals for intake, availability of current resource must be considered. Intake may need to be reduced / stopped if the standards set out in the Animal Care Policy cannot be met.
•    Admission of animals with severe behavioural or medical problems must be limited to no more than the relevant departments can effectively manage.
•    ‘Medical history should be sought for all animals with ongoing, and / or significant previous medical issues before acceptance where possible.’
•    Animals with severe contagious diseases should only be accepted with guidance from a Woodgreen Veterinary Surgeon, or the Director of Care and Veterinary Services.
•    Large groups of animals should only be accepted on the authority of the Section Manager and in consultation with the Head of Onsite Care.
•    Animals will be accepted from other organisations when space and resources allow. Agreement must be sought from the Head of Onsite Care.
•    An assessment will be made (seeking expert advice where necessary) prior to accepting or refusing any dog of a type appearing to be bred for fighting, hunting large game, livestock guarding or having the characteristics of a type bred for these purposes.

March 2021

When appropriate, we will neuter all animals brought into our care. We also educate owners on the benefits of neutering to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals and the associated medical and behavioural conditions. We actively promote neutering of other pets, not just those we’ve rehomed.


To neuter all animals brought into the Charity’s care when appropriate.
To educate owners on the benefits of neutering in order to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals and to decrease the incidence of associated congenital medical and behavioural conditions.
To actively seek opportunities to promote neutering of appropriate animals outside of those rehomed from Woodgreen.


All animals in the Charity’s care will be neutered when it is clinically or behaviourally appropriate to do so (see Annex A).

Neutering will be a condition of rehoming, unless there are bona fide clinical or behavioural reasons not to do so as determined by the Managers in consultation with a Veterinary Surgeon or Behaviour & Training Specialist.

Woodgreen will promote the neutering of all appropriate animals to the wider pet owning public and will actively seek opportunities to neuter through community outreach programmes.

Comprehensive records of all eligible animals will be kept and monitored by the Charity’s Veterinary Services Department and the Charity will aspire to ensure compliance with the neutering policy. This includes the uptake of the voucher scheme.

Woodgreen actively endorses and encourages the concept of kitten neutering under veterinary guidance (Annex B).

All Woodgreen animals must be given post-operative pain relief under veterinary guidance.


If there is an appeal regarding a decision to neuter an animal the issue should be referred to the Director of Care and Veterinary Services.


This Policy will be reviewed biennially by the Pet Services Committee.

Annex A

Dog Neutering Statement

Having researched the behavioural and medical implications of neutering dogs the Charity has recognised that a “one age fits all” approach is not in the best interest of all dogs.

Woodgreen recognises that dogs reach physical and sexual maturity at different ages. With this in mind our recommendation is that dogs should be neutered from 6 months of age (bitches usually before their first season) except in certain cases where behaviour or size indicates later neutering would be more appropriate.

The exceptions to this would be:

The current population dynamic of the breed (or breed type) dictates that it would be irresponsible not to take the opportunity to neuter when it is presented to us.

Where the individual would benefit from being neutered earlier based on their behaviour (examples of this could be dog to dog aggression and over-sexed individuals).

Annex B

Kitten Neutering Statement

Kittens should be neutered before rehoming and as early as 8 weeks of age (or 600g in weight) once weaned. Male kittens can be rehomed prior to neuter if testicles have not descended.

This policy is supported by both the British Veterinary Association and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association.

March 2021


To offer advice, support and guidance to those seeking to rehome an animal.

To match Woodgreen pets in secure homes with responsible owners.

To offer ongoing advice, support and guidance to those who have rehomed an animal.


Animals will only be offered for rehoming if the charity can be confident that they have the expectation of a good quality of life where their physical and emotional needs will be met.

Woodgreen has an expectation of potential new owners to be open and honest about their routine and lifestyle. Potential new owners may be asked to provide information to support the rehoming application.

The home environment may be checked by the charity before and/or after rehoming.

All appropriate animals will be neutered and microchipped before rehoming. Where an animal is not neutered before being rehomed, the new owner must take responsibility for ensuring that neutering is carried out at the appropriate time, to comply with the charity’s neutering policy.

The matching and rehoming process will be tailored to each individual animal and potential new owner’s needs.

The rehoming process will aim to ensure that the time the animal spends in Woodgreen’s care is kept to a minimum.

A rehoming fee will be charged for all pets.

Woodgreen will keep in contact with pet owners to ensure the relationship continues to work well for both pet and owner.


Rehoming of an animal will be at the discretion of Woodgreen Pets Charity. If a member of the public contests a rehoming decision, then that decision will be reviewed by the Welcome Centre Manager. If the matter is not resolved at this level, it is to be referred to the Head of Customer Engagement.


This Policy will be reviewed biennially by the Pet Services Committee.

March 2021

We aim to increase society’s awareness of their responsibility towards animals. We want to be first in people’s minds for promoting responsible pet ownership and exemplary animal welfare in the UK and further afield.

We will deliver education that is ‘inclusive for all’. We will educate children, young people and their families to improve the welfare of animals currently living in their homes and neighbourhoods – helping them to enjoy their relationship with pets and to become responsible pet owners in the future.

We will provide relevant knowledge, skills and preventative veterinary care through our outreach service.


To establish Woodgreen as the primary point of contact for rehoming, advice, support and guidance relating to pets and pet ownership.

To improve the welfare and health of companion animals by providing high quality, sustainable support, education and engagement programmes both in our Centres and in our communities.


All activities offered by the Charity’s staff and volunteers will be non-judgmental and tailored to the customer’s needs. Where a pet has a home and it’s in the animal’s best interest to keep it there, the Charity will endeavour to ensure a successful outcome.

All presentations and materials will reflect the ethical views of Woodgreen Pets Charity. Woodgreen will ensure that up-to-date and achieveable behaviour, training and welfare advice is given.


This Policy will be reviewed biennially by the Animal Welfare Committee.

November 2017

Read the full report here

Channel 4’s The Dog House, filmed at Woodgreen, offers a fascinating insight into how we match homeless dogs with perfect new owners. However, what you see on TV is only a snapshot of each dog’s story.

Every dog who arrives at Woodgreen is unique, with their own background. Some need urgent medical treatment; others might need behavioural training. And some just need love and care while we find them a forever home. Of course, it isn’t possible to show the full extent of this support in an episode of The Dog House. We get to know each dog in intricate detail, sometimes over weeks, and the rehoming process itself often takes a number of conversations and meetings – there’s a lot that goes into giving each dog the best chance of a happy future!

To get a deeper understanding of how we help dogs in our care, please visit our Dog House page where you’ll find exclusive behind-the-scenes content.

At Woodgreen, we take in dogs with a wide range of needs and backgrounds. Some are brought to us when their owners can no longer look after them, others arrive because they have been lost or abandoned.

At our site in Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire we have contracts with four local councils to help them manage stray dogs. These are Huntingdon District Council, Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council and South Cambridge District Council.

We support these councils with the drop-off and collection of stray dogs 24 hours a day (except South Cambridge District Council – 08:00 – 16:30), seven days a week, 365 days a year; ensuring these homeless dogs can be taken in but also collected by their owners any time of the day or night.

Stray dogs have been left to fend for themselves in the public domain and are some of the most vulnerable animals we care for. We provide safe shelter for them and all the care they need, including urgent medical treatment, for a period of seven days. During that time, we search for the original owners using information on the dog’s microchip and tag if they have these (both are now a legal requirement). We also check lost and found websites as well as Facebook pages. If the owner can’t be located after seven days, ownership of the dog is transferred to us and we begin to find them a new home.

Fines are incurred for stray dogs which are set by the respective council area. Woodgreen can accept payment on behalf of the councils and transfer the money to them; we do this because we feel it’s in the best interest of the pet and owner. Any disputes over fines are to be taken up by the owner with the council where the dogs are collected from.

December 2019.