It is not often that a dispute over the actions of a rescue charity attracts as much attention as those of the Mayhew Animal Rescue recently, over the re-homing of one dog.
E-mails have been circulated on the internet and meetings with a residents association have been set up to try to resolve what is being described as a difficult situation by all involved.
It all started when Mr Paul MacCullough and his daughter Kerry, 15 were made homeless following the tragic death of Mrs MacCullough. The dog, a Basset hound called Bertie, was bought for Kerry by her mother prior to her death. Mrs MacCullough had chosen the breed as she thought it would be a good pet for Kerry to have. Kerry’s Mum died after a fall, and was found by Kerry on her return home from school, with Bertie lying by her side.
Kerry and her father were then made homeless when their private landlord obtained possession for occupation for the landlord’s family. Mr MacCullogh is currently living in a hostel and his daughter Kerry is staying with friends. It is hoped that the MacCulloughs will be re- housed shortly and would therefore be able to have Bertie back.
At first Bertie was looked after by three close neighbours, a school teacher who already had a dog, a family with two children aged nine and 11 years and a single young man. None of these foster homes worked out for Bertie. The home with the school teacher did not work out because her male dog did not accept Bertie in his home, the family with the children did not want to keep Bertie as he had mistaken the man of the household as a burglar when he came into the kitchen in the middle of the night in the dark! The third home was not suitable as the young man was out at work all day.
During his time with these foster homes, Bertie was taken to Brenda Long’s dog training club where Brenda had the opportunity to assess Bertie and do some training with him. Brenda is an obedience trainer at Little Legs Dog Club in Wembley. Brenda told us, “Bertie is a lovely dog and eager to please. He has a lovely temperament, the foster homes were clearly unsuitable and any one with a little doggy sense would have known this”.
At this point Paul MacCullough decided to call The Mayhew Animal Rescue to see if they could help. Hoping for guidance and help, a very distressed Mr MacCullough and Kerry took Bertie to the Mayhew centre. The Mayhew centre told Our Dogs: “When he arrived with his daughter they were understandably upset so our Adoption Officer and Animal Welfare Officers discussed with them a range of options that may be possible to keep them all together. With no reassurance that they would be in any position in the future to care for Bertie again they wanted to know he would be cared for well and we offered them that and met our promise to prioritise Bertie’s welfare and happiness.
‘Our Pet Refuge scheme offers a three month opportunity for a dog, or cat, to be cared for in a foster home through The Mayhew in certain circumstances. Bertie’s owner was made aware of all the options but was clear that he in no way could be sure that he would be in permanent accommodation within that period, or in accommodation that would be suitable for Bertie. He therefore signed Bertie over completely to The Mayhew”. His decision it was felt by many was made under duress
The following day Brenda Long and Diana Rich approached The Mayhew to tell them they could find a suitable foster home or pay The Mayhew to care for Bertie until such time as the MacCullough’s could be re-homed. Having been assured that nothing would happen straight away, they believed they would have time to sort out a foster home or raise funds to pay for Berties care at the home. They told that the Mayhew that the local Residents’ Association (TITRA) were also involving themselves with trying to get housing for the MacCulloughs and were prepared to help financially with Bertie, but none of this ‘seemed to be of interest’.
The home then contacted Brenda to say that Bertie was going to be put up for adoption, and within a very short time after was reserved by a couple who The Mayhew believed could care for Bertie.
Sarah Dickinson, Media & Communications Officer for The Mayhew, told Our Dogs: “Mr McCollough telephoned on May 6th with a plea for us to take his dog in straight away as they had been evicted and had absolutely no other options for Bertie. He had spent some time being looked after by other people but, naturally, was finding that particularly stressful and had snapped. Bertie was signed over to The Mayhew in the full knowledge that we would then be looking to find him a new home. However, we did go the extra length to discuss with the family whether they would be able to take part in our Pet Refuge scheme, as whereever suitable, we will try and keep animal and owner together.
“Bertie needs stability as he is a fairly stressed young dog and in his new home will receive that. Mr McCullough approached us as he wanted Bertie cared for and we have provided what is absolutely best for Bertie. The McCullough’s are not in a position to have him back and there is no benefit to him staying in a kennel environment any longer than is necessary and we are pleased to have found him a wonderful new home in the country, with a couple nearing retirement who will be able to spend lots of time with him. For every animal adopted from The Mayhew there is a stringent home-checking policy, so we can promise he is going to a marvelous new home. I completely understand how devastating it must be to be parted from your loved pet but we have made sure he will now be able to live a stress-free existence and have prioritized his happiness and well-being – which is what we were asked to do”.
Diana Rich, Brenda Long and the residents association are continuing to try to change the minds of the people at the Mayhew centre. They are working hard to make people aware of this situation, and to help get the MacCulloughs re-housed as soon as possible. The Mayhew have another basset hound in for re homing, called Toby, it was hoped that The Mayhew might consider offering this dog to the people who have reserved Bertie, but The Mayhew say that this is highly unlikely and they would not want to build up hopes that Kerry and Bertie will be reunited.
As Diana Rich told us: “The child has lost her mother - she came home to find her mother dead and her dog was just lying with the mother and didn't want to leave her. Then the girl lost her home. Now she has lost the dog which she adores”
It is hoped by all concerned, that dog lovers will write to The Mayhew in support of the MacCulloughs appeal to have Bertie returned when they are re housed.
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