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    • 02 Sep, 2016

    Our Animal Welfare Officers are About Pets. For Pets.

    From providing ongoing support to pet owners in difficulty, to responding to animal welfare issues in the community, to delivering a range of community initiatives across London, the life of a Mayhew Animal Welfare Officer is a busy and important role.

    At The Mayhew we are very lucky to have a team of five experienced Animal Welfare Officers who are all dedicated and passionate about the welfare of animals and work tirelessly around-the-clock helping animals and their carers.

    Often referred to as “Animal Social Workers”, our Officers deal with many challenging and difficult situations, and they remain tactful, supportive and non-judgmental throughout their work and when dealing with pet owners.

    We were the first animal welfare charity to develop the “Animal Welfare Officer” concept back in 2000 with a key aim to prevent welfare issues in the community before they arise, and since then our Officers have strived to tackle the animal welfare crisis from every possible angle. Our Officers reach out to the local community, providing support and advice for both animal and carer, and are proactive and innovative, working to help animals and their carers whatever their circumstances. They can even deal with around 60 to 80 ongoing cases at any given time.

    Our Officers’ work is one of the many vital aspects to the running of The Mayhew, so throughout September we will be sharing and giving an insight into their fantastic work with our campaign, “Our Animal Welfare Officers are About Pets. For Pets.” Find out more about their work, including past and present stories below.

    awo group dog spud

    Animal Rescue

    Our Officers respond to animal welfare issues out in the community that come in via members of the public and provide ongoing support to carers and pet owners in difficulty on a daily basis.

    We aim to educate current and prospective pet owners on responsible pet ownership, so they are equipped with the advice, support and help when they need it and before a situation deteriorates. Dealing with hundreds of people in crisis situations every year, our Officers are non-judgemental and are here to help the animals as much as they can.

    George and kittens

    This year our Officers have already helped 839 animals in the community including:

    • Four year old Great Dane and Bullmastiff cross Chester, who was found completely emaciated and abandoned on the streets in Brent in February. Read about his story here.
    • Three four week old kittens who were found dumped in a box on the street, covered in maggots and diarrhoea. Read about their story here.
    • A young female cat called Molly who fell from the third floor of a tower block – and lived to tell the tale. Read about her story here.
    • Seven domestic rabbits who were thrown from the boot of a car and left to fend for themselves on Hampstead Heath. Read about their story here.

    Trap, Neuter, Return

    Our Officers run our Trap, Neuter, Return programme for feral cats, to help contain and control the cat population in London.

    There are a large number of cat colonies in London and it is vital that they are neutered and health checked to prevent further breeding and spreading of diseases, including Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).

    Trapping March 11 008_6874298704_o

    Our Officers respond to calls from the general public, trapping the cats on location to bring them back to The Mayhew. Once they’ve brought them back our Vet Team will neuter and health check the cats, and then they will be re-released back to their colony location, providing it is a safe and suitable environment.

    Find out more about this programme here.

    Working with the homeless

    Our Officers work with several organisations that offer support to homeless people in London, and in 2015 we managed to help 48 dogs belonging to homeless people.

    Some homeless people have animals and very often their dog is absolutely everything to them; it is their family and their reason for living. This is just one reason why it is important for us to ensure that the animals are cared for appropriately and the carers given welfare advice and assistance where necessary.

    IMG_2549 (2)

    We visit homeless hostels and drop in centres including Thames Reach, Broadway Homeless Hostel and Drop in Centre, Spitalfields Crypt Trust and St Mungo’s, and aim to visit each centre five times a year.

    We give the dogs free general health checks, microchipping, flea and worm treatment and provide the owners with collars, tags, coats in the winter and dog food. We also encourage the owners to book the dogs in for free neutering, vaccinations and a general health check with a Mayhew vet. One of our vets will also attend each event to give the dogs a thorough check over.

    If their pets have any sickness or injury, our Officers will take their dog back to our Community Vet Clinic for free treatment. This year our Officers helped a homeless family who were doing everything they could to keep their deaf, blind and elderly dog, including sleeping the car at night with him. Read their story here.

    Mikey owner tania on bench

    Our Officers also attend Crisis at Christmas every year and attend venues where homeless people can receive temporary shelter over the Christmas period. We offer advice and assistance on caring for their dog while they receive help and support from the charity.

    Find out more about this programme here.

    Pick and Snip

    Run by our Officers, our Pick and Snip project is a scheme created to help people who have been unable to neuter their cat due to cost, disability, apathy or transport availability.

    Mayhew April 2016-35

    Photo by Rowan Williams

    Our Officers collect and neuter owned cats (or semi-owned, garden cats), within our designated catchment area of the M25, North of the Thames.

    Find out more about this programme here.

    Working with the public

    At The Mayhew we collaborate with other organisations to improve animal welfare around London. Our key collaboration is with BARK (Brent Action for Responsible K9s), a forum established in 2007 in order to tackle the issues surrounding the irresponsible use and maltreatment of dogs.


    Brent BARK consists of The Mayhew, Brent Council, the Metropolitan Police Service, the RSPCA and Brent Housing Partnership. The project meets regularly and carries our regular patrols of the local borough and visits addresses and known problem areas where there have been concerns about a dog’s welfare.

    Our Officers are there to provide information, reassurance and advice and often at these events will provide free microchipping for dogs.

    Find out more about our work with the public here.

    Working with young people

    We are always keen to educate the younger generation about the importance of responsible pet ownership and safety around animals, and offer free tours of our Home for students aged seven years and up.


    Schools can come to us for an hours tour of the Home and we also try to visit local community youth groups such as, Brownies, Guides, Beavers Scouts and young offender units.

    Find out more about our work with young people here.

    Our Animal Welfare Officers truly do an amazing job at The Mayhew and we encourage you to join us in celebrating their work throughout September. Please consider a donation to help support our Officers with their animal welfare work.

    [donate text=”Donate to support our Animal Welfare Officers” source=”AWO Awareness Month”]

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