Ponderosa pet rescue centre facing closure

Karen Greaves at the Ponderosa centre.

Karen Greaves at the Ponderosa centre.

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An animal rescue centre which provides homes for neglected cats and dogs to prevent them being put down is facing closure.

New homes need to be found for unwanted dogs, cats and kittens living at the Ponderosa Rescue Centre and Cattery in Allerton Bywater after the death of the man behind the charity which runs it.

Solicitors acting for the estate of Michael Banks, who was secretary and trustee of the Dog Care Association, said it was not possible to keep the centre open following his death in February.

The association was set up in 1984 with a policy not to have healthy cats and dogs put down and to keep them until they are found suitable homes.

Solicitor Robert Howard, of Philip and Robert Howard Solicitors in Castleford, said: “The reality is that it’s most regretful that Ponderosa has to close.

“Mr Michael Banks was the driving force behind the trust. It was effectively his charity.

“Sadly, he died in February and it hasn’t been possible to continue because it was his charity. That’s the situation. It’s not sustainable.”

Karen Greaves, a current trustee of the association, said a letter was received at the Ninevah Lane centre saying its tenancy was being terminated.

Ms Greaves, who has worked there for 27 years, said: “We’re trying to get the animals into foster homes.

“We’re having to tell people we can’t take any more animals in.

“We’ve got about 12 dogs at the moment and between 20 and 25 cats and kittens.”

Ponderosa makes regular appeals for help to re-home animals and often has dozens of pets in its kennels.

Ms Greaves said: “They come to us from various places. Some are abandoned and some are neglected animals that haven’t been treated properly.”

A solicitors’ letter received at the centre said alternative homes were being found for animals currently housed there.

But Ms Greaves said she was worried about the future of the animals because other organisations like the RSPCA and the Dogs Trust were swamped with unwanted pets and trying to send animals to Ponderosa.

Ms Greaves said: “I just can’t see that they are just going to be able to take the animals to a new home.”

Anybody who can provide a new home for animals at the centre is asked to call 01977 552303. Ponderosa is open seven days a week from 11am-3pm.