The November meeting of Chipping Campden WI always includes the AGM so we usually whiz through the ordinary monthly meeting, minutes, reports and so on, to get to the AGM as quickly as possible Afterwards we normally have a short talk before refreshments. This year was different. We did it the other way round!
The charming speaker had brought a presentation from the Gloucestershire Animal Welfare Association and Cheltenham Animal Shelter. Miss Jenner told us of the surprisingly wide field of activities that come under that organisation. As one would expect much of their work is in rescuing and, when the owners cannot be found, rehoming dogs and cats. Nine out of ten are strays but one in 10 is signed over from someone who cannot for good reason continue to keep their pet.
When a stray cat or dog is brought in, it is checked to see if it has a named collar or a microchip giving the owners name. If the owner cannot be traced the animal is vaccinated and any fleas and worms are dealt with during a seven-day period during which it is housed in quarantine. Sometimes the owner contacts them and can be reunited with their lost pet. If this does not happened then rehoming is arranged where this is possible. Alas, more cats and dogs come to the shelter than there are people seeking new pets. Some too are too old, ill, badly behaved or otherwise unsuitable for rehoming and then, with regret, the answer may have to be ‘euthanising.’
After explaining the ramifications of this and other sides of their work. Miss Jenner, told us, with illustrations, of some of the tragic cases of neglect and abuse that have occurred. She hastened to assure us that none was local to our county, but the thought that anyone, anywhere, could have left a dog for six weeks locked in the house without food while they went on holiday or that boys could have attempted to hang a stolen puppy and then used it for target practice , was too horrific for words.
Her own particular field is in education. Not just spreading news of the Shelter to WIs and other groups, but a project against violence, teaching disruptive schoolchildren and young offenders with a history of violence how to behave to other people and to animals. The intention is to increase compassion and respect for others together with getting them to become more responsible. We felt this aspect of her work was extremely valuable. The vote of thanks by Mrs Carole Moss expressed our appreciation both of her talk and of the work or the organisation.
Then she left for it was a cold and frosty night and she had a long way to go. We turned to the more mundane matters of our ordinary and annual general meetings. At the AGM our President, Mrs Sue Morrey gave a report on her first year in office thanking her committee and others who had helped during the year – and later on the agenda she was voted back unanimously for next year. Awards were presented for those first second and third in the two monthly competitions held throughout the year. Thanks to the officers and to the committee as a whole in the past year were again unanimously and warmly given.
Next came the refreshments, which were lavish and, of course, scrumptious.
(From the Chipping Campden Bulletin. Reproduced with kind permission of Jeremy Green)