Improvements are set to be made to Wirral Council’s kennel facilities as a result of funding obtained by a newly-formed group dedicated to the care of abandoned or found dogs in the borough.
The Friends of Birkenhead Kennels successfully bid for money totaling £5,845 from ‘Funds For You’, which is administered by the various Area Forums in Wirral.
Donations of £1,000 have been pledged by the Bebington and Clatterbridge, Leasowe, Moreton and Saughall Massie, Oxton and Prenton, Heswall, Pensby and Thingwall and New Brighton and Wallasey Area Forums, while Bidston, St James and Claughton forum pledged £845.
That cash will now be used to repaint the internal walls of the kennels and make improvements to the flooring in the main kennel block and the smaller isolation kennel at the Corporation Road facility.
Discussions are ongoing around ways in which the group’s other suggestions for modernising and improving facilities at the kennels might be able to be met, although there is an acknowledgement about the difficulties that exist around both the budgetary demands faced by the Council and the inherent restrictions at the current kennel premises.
One of the possibilities under discussion includes the formation of a community partnership to look into the building of new kennel facilities to replace the current complex, which has limited scope for development.
The formation of the Friends group came about after a petition of more than 4,000 names had been presented to Council on behalf of local resident Gillian Westerman. Gillian and two other representatives of the Friends group, Andrew and Antje Tucker, had earlier visited the kennels at the invitation of Cllr. Gill Gardiner (Environment) and Cllr. Ian Lewis (Community and Customer Engagement) to view the facilities.
The petition, which paid tribute to the hard work of kennel staff, suggested improvements be made such as creating a 'run' where dogs can be exercised, fitting new gates to the kennels so the dogs feel less isolated, windows in the roof of the kennels to allow daylight, warm bedding to protect from the cold concrete floor and a regular spot in the local newspaper listing the dogs that need new homes.
The points made in the petition were discussed and as a result the group said they were keen to support improvements to the kennels and actively generate support towards a community partnership project to explore how a new kennel / animal welfare facility might be provided at minimal cost to the Council. Members will shortly be asked to consider a report into this possibility.
Cllr. Gardiner said: “The recent meetings we have had with the friends group have been very positive and it is good to see that there is such positive and proactive support for our kennel staff and the animals they try to re- home. The support from each area forum I think confirms that the wider community does value this service and I am pleased to see such a positive expression of acknowledgement for the friends group’s activities.”http://www.wirral.gov.uk/news/28-09-2010/forum-funding-provides-kennels-boost