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Our policies

As one of the UK’s leading animal charities, we're often asked to comment on animal welfare issues. All our responses are informed by our day-to-day interactions with pet owners and pets in need.

Read our key policies below:

  • Animal care policy

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

    Objectives

    To outline Wood Green, The Animals Charity’s ethical views regarding the care of all species.

    Policy

    Wood Green 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 Wood Green 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.

    Appeals

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

    Review

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

    November 2017

     

  • Our position on euthanasia

    At Wood Green, The Animals Charity, we give homeless and vulnerable pets the greatest chance of a positive future – a second chance at life. And we put all the care, training and love into making that a reality.

    But when we have done all we can to help a pet overcome a serious medical condition, severe behavioural problem, or both, a decision has to be made about putting them to sleep. This involves our team of experts assessing each pet for quality of life and, for those with behavioural problems, the risk to other pets and people.

    We have a duty to consider the welfare of every pet in our care. In extreme cases, euthanasia will be considered – and is a decision that is never taken lightly.

  • Animal intake policy

    We’ll provide an efficient and sensitive intake process that prioritises the animals’ welfare. 

    Objectives

    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 good welfare practices and principles whilst reflecting the needs, requirements and capabilities of potential new owners.

    Policy

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

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

    Stray animals will be taken in from members of the public and local authorities with whom the Charity has stray contracts. Stray animals will be rehomed in accordance with current legislation, best practice and the Charity’s Rehoming Policy.

    Emergencies will be dealt with on a case by case basis and assessed on their individual needs by appropriately trained staff.

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

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

    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 Wood Green, 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.

    An animal is not the responsibility of Wood Green until ownership is transferred to the Charity. Whilst not responsible, the Charity will offer advice and support to owners.

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

    Appeals

    Any appeal should be referred to the Manager.

    Review

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

    Annex A

    The dog breeds below are all banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 so will not be taken in by Wood Green, The Animals 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 problems must be limited to no more than the relevant departments can effectively manage.
    • Medical history should be sought and reviewed for all animals deemed as senior (subject to species and breed), high risk or with significant ongoing or previous medical issues before acceptance.
    • Animals with severe contagious diseases should only be accepted with guidance from the Directors of Animal Services.
    • Large groups of animals should only be accepted on the authority of the Manager and in consultation with the Directors of Animal Services.
    • Animals will be accepted from other organisations when space and resources allow. Agreement must be sought from the appropriate Managers.
    • 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 to have the characteristics of a type bred for those purposes.

    November 2017

  • Animal neutering policy

    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.

    Objectives

    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 Wood Green.

    Policy

    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.

    Wood Green 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.

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

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

    Appeal

    If there is an appeal regarding a decision to neuter an animal the issue should be referred to the Directors of Animal Services.

    Review

    This Policy will be reviewed biennially by the Animal Welfare 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. Wood Green 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.

    November 2017

  • Animal rehoming policy

    We aim to find secure and loving homes as quickly as possible. We offer on-going advice, support and guidance to anyone who is looking to, or has already rehomed an animal.

    Objectives

    To find secure homes with responsible owners.

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

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

    Policy

    Rehoming of an animal will be at the discretion of Wood Green, The Animals Charity.

    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.

    Wood Green has an expectation of potential new owners to be open and honest about their lifestyle. Potential new owners will be asked to provide information to support the rehoming application as detailed in the Charity’s Homefinder forms.

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

    All appropriate animals will be neutered and microchipped. The Charity will normally neuter all animals 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 rehoming process will be customer focused, efficient and relevant to each individual animal’s and potential new owner’s needs.

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

    The rehoming staff will be equipped with the proper skills, training and resources to allow them to carry out their work effectively.

    Appeals

    If a member of the public contests a rehoming decision then that decision will be reviewed by the Manager. If the matter is not resolved at this level it is to be referred to the Directors of Animal Services.

    Review

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

    November 2017

  • Customer and community engagement policy

    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.

    Objectives

    To establish Wood Green 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.

    Policy

    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 Wood Green, The Animals Charity. Wood Green will ensure that up-to-date and achieveable behaviour, training and welfare advice is given.

    Review

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

    November 2017

  • Gender pay gap report

    Read the full report here