Ex-volunteers accuse cat charity of wasting money - The Evesham Observer

Ex-volunteers accuse cat charity of wasting money

Evesham Editorial 17th Sep, 2018   0

A WAR of words has erupted after former volunteers at a Wickhamford cat sanctuary slammed their ex- bosses for implementing sweeping changes which have ‘taken the heart out of the centre’.

The former volunteers made their claims against Evesham Cats Protection and said the changes meant the centre was being run as a business and no longer as a charity with the welfare of cats as its prime objective.

However, Cats Protection (CP) chiefs hit back at the claims and said the welfare of cats in its care remained its over-riding concern.

In a letter seen by the Observer, the volunteers said: “The cats are being treated as a commodity instead of individuals with personalities and specific care requirements. Volunteers must put on gloves, foot covers, arm protectors and aprons before entering a cat’s pen to clean it.

“All the items must then be removed, thrown away and another set worn before entering the next pen. None of these items are biodegradable, none are recyclable.

“The site at Wickhamford is to be refurbished at exorbitant cost. The current facilities are not very old and are perfectly adequate, secure and hygienic so why change them?

“The pens, having only been installed within the last three years, may not meet exact requirements of CP. Surely it makes much more sense to only replace as they wear out.

“A costly brand of cat litter has been introduced. Previously, shredded newspaper was used. It cost nothing as it was donated, along with food and bedding, by the public who were very supportive of the site – and it worked!.

The volunteers revealed they had all now stepped down from the roles as a result of the changes.

“The heart has been taken out of the centre,” they stated.

“The atmosphere/ambiance of the place had always been relaxed and welcoming, enabling visitors to take their time getting to know the cats in order to make the right decision for them and the individual cat concerned.”

A Cats Protection spokesman said: “As a responsible charity, having recognised a problem at the site, we had been working with the volunteer management at the centre for several months, to get the welfare standards, data protection requirements and other key policies in line with our national standards. This included addressing disease control, hygiene, vet standards and cat welfare issues.

“Our over-riding concern during this process has, of course, been the welfare of the cats in our care.

“When we were alerted over a weekend that the previous volunteer management team had left a resignation letter at the centre, leaving behind eight cats and free roaming chickens, we got an experienced team to the site as soon as possible.

“Their prime objective was to ensure the welfare of the cats, who were either rehomed directly from the centre or taken to other Cats Protection sites to be cared for until they are ready to be rehomed, and the chickens who were also found a new home.”

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