Dogs given new hope

Animal Rescue Centre Gorefield, Mary Higgins with Chauwy (only has 1 eye) ANL-151202-184215009
Animal Rescue Centre Gorefield, Mary Higgins with Chauwy (only has 1 eye) ANL-151202-184215009
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A woman who feared she would have to put down her dogs after an enforcement notice was served on her rescue shelter has been “overwhelmed” by public support.

Mary Higgins was terrified and said she felt “like a criminal” after Fenland Council served a noise abatement notice on her shelter in Gorefield, which she has run for the last 34 years.

She claimed she was told to get rid of all the animals and close the shelter following complaints about dogs barking, before council officers return to re-assess the noise on March 23.

Last week the Citizen ran an appeal on Mrs Higgins’ behalf to help try to find homes for at least 13 of her 33 dogs, and she has been inundated with offers and friendly calls of support.

She said: “After the article in the Citizen, my phone went crazy. The support from people has been absolutely amazing. We have managed to re-home 15 dogs in less than a week, compared to late last year when it took two months to re-home six.

“The council has also backed down a bit and said I can now keep some of the dogs, so hopefully when they return next month they will see I’ve made an effort.”

On Monday, Mrs Higgins had 18 dogs left and was looking to re-home at least another eight to ten.

She said: “I have been overwhelmed with the number of phone calls, and I still have 86 voicemails to go through. It’s just been amazing, I can’t thank everyone enough.”

She said as well as people phoning to offer new homes to the dogs, others have phoned just to offer words of support.

“I had one call from an old boy called Albert. He couldn’t take a dog, but he just phoned to wish me luck and said ‘you’ll be all right’. At the time it was just what I needed,” she said.

Mrs Higgins said a group of youngsters also phoned up to volunteer their help at the shelter.

The district council has confirmed it served a noise abatement notice on Mrs Higgins, requiring her to “abate the nuisance and prevent its recurrence by March 23”, but said as it was an ongoing enforcement matter, it could not comment further.

• Anyone wanting to re-home a dog can contact Mrs Higgins on 07500 658845.