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Changes to kennel access at Animals in Distress

As of 1st June 2016 the kennels are now closed for general viewing

At Animals in Distress the welfare of the animals in our care is always our first concern, and with the dogs’ welfare in mind we have taken the decision to close the kennels at our rescue centre to general public viewing.

Recent studies have shown that a high frequency of visitors can have a huge impact on the behaviour, health and stress levels of a dog in kennels. For the sake of the dogs’ well-being, and in line with other leading animal charities, Animals in Distress will allow kennel viewing only to people who are actively looking for a new canine companion.

If you want to rehome a dog, you will still be able to meet the dogs. We have reviewed our adoption procedure to better help dogs and owners to find their perfect match. You will be very welcome to meet any dogs that might be suitable for you, in an environment that will be more comfortable for the dogs.

Chief Executive Neil Thomas said: “We understand that some people may be disappointed at no longer being able to visit the dogs, but as always the welfare of the dogs is our first consideration. We estimate that only about 10% to 15% of public visitors to our kennels are genuinely interested in adopting a dog.

“The rescue kennel environment is extremely stressful for the dogs and we do all we can to counteract this. We are confident that by managing the number of visitors to our kennel area, the welfare of the dogs will significantly improve. We will see a marked reduction in the stress levels and associated negative behaviours, which will greatly benefit the dogs.

“The dogs’ calmer behaviour will result in better interactions between potential adopters and the dogs. It will greatly improve the dogs’ prospects of being rehomed and speed up the rehoming process.”

If you are looking to rehome a dog from Animals in Distress you can see the dogs available on our website and follow the adoption application procedure, or visit the rescue centre Reception where you can talk to a member of our staff. They will discuss with you the rehoming process and any possible suitable dogs in our care prior to visiting the dogs.

For further information please see the FAQs or call our Reception on 01803 812121.


Q. Why can we no longer walk freely around the kennels?

A. At Animals in Distress our main priority is to provide the best possible welfare for the animals in our care. We believe that giving the public free access to the kennels is causing the dogs distress, which in turn affects their mental and physical health. We see signs of stress in the dogs all the time when there are visitors walking through, and these include: coming to the front of the kennel and barking in a distressed way, hiding at the back of the kennel, bouncing, spinning, scrabbling at the walls, shutting down and avoiding social contact, panting, pacing, diarrhoea and weight loss. The dogs are noticeably happier and calmer in a quieter atmosphere.

Our main aim is to rehome the dogs that have come into our care and to allow them every opportunity to be seen by their potential ‘forever’ homes. If they are hiding because of the numbers of visitors, their chances of finding a new home quickly are greatly reduced.

Q. Will I still be able to choose my own dog?

A. Yes. There is no limit to the number of dogs you can meet until you find the right one, and we will work with you to help you to choose the dog that is the perfect match for you. During our initial discussion with you we will be able to highlight the dogs that would best suit your lifestyle and needs. This helps us to introduce you to dogs that you may not see when you first walk round the kennels, as some dogs find the kennels overwhelming and hide at the back.

Q. Can I still bring my children along to see the animals?

A. Yes, the rest of the rescue centre will still be open to the public, including the cattery and the rabbit and guinea pig areas. It is only the dogs that will no longer be on public view, for welfare reasons. We can also arrange for speakers to visit schools and children’s groups, if they would like to learn about animal welfare and the work of Animals in Distress.

Q. Why have you closed the kennels but not the other animal sections?

A. We have found that the dogs in particular find a constant stream of visitors very stressful and frustrating. Cats, rabbits and guinea pigs generally cope far better with the environment at Animals in Distress, and we do not think it necessary to close their sections to the public at this time. We will of course continue to ensure that their welfare needs are met at all times too.

Q. I am a registered dog-walker for Animals in Distress, and I regularly walk the dogs. Will I still be able to do this?

A. Absolutely, yes. All of the dog walking by our wonderful registered dog-walkers will continue as normal.

Q. I am a supporter of Animals in Distress. Can I still see where my money will be spent?

A. We are so grateful for your support and we rely entirely on generous donations like yours. As you care about animal welfare as much as we do, we hope that you will understand our reasons for closing the kennels. However, please feel free to contact us and we can personally show you around the Centre and discuss with you the reasons behind our decisions.

Q. Will you still be able to rehome dogs if no one can see them?

A. Other charities that have restricted their kennel viewing have found that their rehoming numbers have not dropped, and in many cases have increased. We are confident that by adapting our rehoming procedures we will have a higher rate of success in helping our dogs and prospective owners to find their perfect match.