Preston's RSPCA centre suffers cash crisis

Kittens at the RSPCA's Ribbleton animal centre
Image caption The RSPCA said they would do all they could to help the animals

An animal centre in Lancashire could be forced to close more than half its kennels and make four staff redundant due to a funding shortfall.

The RSPCA's centre in Ribbleton, which has 66 kennels, cost £459,000 to run last year and relies on legacies people leave in their wills.

In 2008, £375,000 was left to the branch, but by the end of September this year just £47,762 had been left.

The closures and staff cuts would save an estimated £110,300 a year.

The branch may also have to close its veterinary clinic, which provides subsidised treatment for pet owners on benefits, if its finances do not improve in the new year.

'Drastic action'

Maureen Hindle, chair of the branch, said: "We make these proposals with a heavy heart but we have no choice.

"If we don't take drastic action now we could end up having to close the animal centre completely which would have huge consequences for animal welfare in the Preston area."

If the funding situation does not improve, four of the 14 staff posts will be made redundant and the number of kennels will be reduced to 32.

Miss Hindle said staff were "extremely upset" but they understood the situation.

"We all do what we do to help animals," she added. "We must do what we can to try to protect as many of the services we provide as possible."

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