‘Friends of the Animals’ began in 1990 in what was at the time my home in the West Midlands. And, so began my dream of alleviating the suffering of sick, injured, or simply unwanted animals.
Word spread like wildfire and it quickly became a seven day a week operation, with several volunteers working from my home. However, it wasn’t long before I discovered that running a Charity from home was beset with difficulties: The phone rang constantly throughout the day and night, frightened animals were left in boxes on my doorstep and the final straw was when a volunteer inadvertently moved a pile of blankets in front of a heater and then went home having forgotten to switch the heater off. I was working away at the time and to receive a call telling me there had been a fire which two fire tenders had attended, was a huge shock. But, even after this news, I knew I really didn’t want to stop rescuing. No other Charity was covering the area like we were and every week we were saving animals’ lives.
Being compassionate was not enough we needed to be practical too. Great things can happen when motivated people pull together and at a meeting with Sandwell Council, I told them of my plan to introduce a radical Spaying & Neutering Scheme. I was able to demonstrate the scheme would be cost effective. And, happily, when the Council saw they would be saving money on kennelling stray / unwanted dogs for the statutory seven days, their sad destruction and disposal, they were keen to come on board.
Following several refusals, a local Vet was finally found who was willing to spay & neuter all the dogs and cats we brought to him, at a much reduced rate.
Three housing estates in the Borough which were particularly overrun with stray cats, dogs, kittens and puppies were targeted. (One ladies two bitches had given birth to a total of TWENTY ONE puppies on the same day ! Sadly, all unwanted). With the help of the Council; local Schools, Libraries and various Community Centre’s were blitzed with posters and a house to house leaflet drop took place.
The Scheme took off like a rocket and ‘Friends of the Animals’ quickly became the Vet’s biggest client – by far. Our neutering programme was soon having a hugely beneficial effect on the whole community and strays on the three estates became a thing of the past.
Our important ‘preventative’ work continues to this day and we are racing towards our 38,500th neuter!
Local M.P.s The Right Hon. John Spellar (below right) and Adrian Bailey (below left) put their name to our work, and have done so ever since.
JACK was one of the headline stars of the CARRY ON series of films. He joined the Charity and for many years prior to his sad departure, he worked very hard both in direct support of the Charity but also “behind the scenes” introducing us to some of his other friends. We will always treasure his efforts on behalf of the animals he so loved.
Over the next few years the Charity began to receive support from more celebrities who have liked what we do, how we do it and who wanted to do what they can to expand our work. We greatly appreciate the support of –
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In 2014 Helen Sinclair, Charity Founder was awarded the M.B.E. for services to Animal Welfare.
The award reflects 25 years of commitment based on being caring, compassionate and practical.
Helen received her award from The Princess Royal.