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Revealed: Why the RSPCA closed in Preston and what’s happened to reopen it

Posted on - 9th June, 2019 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Preston News, Ribbleton
Entrance to the reopened RSPCA in Preston Pic: Blog Preston
Entrance to the reopened RSPCA in Preston Pic: Blog Preston

What happened to close the RSPCA centre in Preston has now been revealed.

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In a letter to RSPCA members, seen by Blog Preston, the chair of temporary trustees Paul Draycott has outlined the timeline of events which led to the Longridge Road centre being closed in December 2017.

In it he reveals five animals had be euthanased, the Charity Commission were called in to investigate the goings on at the charity and the former animal centre manager has lost an employment tribunal against the RSPCA.

The centre reopened in March this year after a refurbishment and remains in control of the national RSPCA.

Here’s what Mr Draycott had to say in his letter ahead of the Preston RSPCA’s annual general meeting on Wednesday 26 June.

He writes: “During October and November 2017 the Branch trustees received a number of written complaints relating to issues about the management of the animal centre. These complaints raised concerns about the welfare of animals at the centre and were referred to the national RSPCA.

“An unannounced inspection of the animal centre was carried out by an RSPCA Field Officer on 20 November 2017.

“She recommended that no further animals should be admitted; that the animals onsite should be transferred to other RSPCA centres and the centre should close to the public.

“The inspection concluded that the health and safety regime for staff, volunteers and the public was inadequate, animal welfare was being compromised, the cleanliness of the centre was below-standard and these posed significant risk to the charity.”

Mr Draycott goes on to outline how the transfer of animals began in late November 2017 and on veterinary advice five animals had to be euthanased.

The closure of the centre to the public came to light in December 2017 when Blog Preston revealed it had been closed down.

Temporary closure sign outside RSPCA Preston and District

Mr Draycott then writes about the previous trustees.

He said: “In February 2018, following legal advice and in light of the issues involving in closing the animal centre, the branch trustees submitted a serious incident report to the Charity Commission.

“In addition, the branch had lost control of its Facebook page. The Commission regarded the issues as sufficiently serious to open a compliance case.”

Read more: How Preston Twitter helped rehome Molly the lost collie

Following this the majority of branch trustees resigned in April 2018 and the national RSPCA appointed temporary trustees.

Mr Draycott confirmed a meeting was held with the Charity Commission in June last year where the regulator stated they were happy the new trustees were dealing with the issues at the Preston centre and the compliance case was closed.

Throughout 2018 a deep clean of the centre took place and a refurbishment project kicked in.

A new centre manager was appointed with Mark Allen moving from the RSPCA Southport where he was a supervisor.

Inside the cattery at the RSPCA in Preston Pic: Blog Preston
Inside the cattery at the RSPCA in Preston Pic: Blog Preston

Mr Draycott states the following improvements were made to the Longridge Road centre:

  • Repairs to a number of the kennel runs
  • New fencing around the dog exercise fields
  • A new ventilation system and new flooring in the cattery
  • Alterations to the cat isolation area
  • New doors
  • Introduction of a new computerised animal welfare management system

He goes on to state the former centre manager John Wareing lost a claim for constructive dismissal at an employment tribunal hearing in Manchester in May this year.

Former Preston RSPCA centre manager John Wareing Pic: Tony Worrall
Former Preston RSPCA centre manager John Wareing Pic: Tony Worrall

Mr Draycott said: “The trustees appreciate that many supporters have had concerns about the length of time that the centre was closed but they had to ensure that all the previous issues had been fully addressed in order to be confident that the centre would provide the high standards of animal welfare that we all expect.

“Finally, can I say how much we have appreciated all the support we have received from the local community during the last 18 months or so.”

Read more: RSPCA Preston to host a summer fair

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