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Our Story begins..

The Warrington Animal Centre (originally known as the Harold Hallwood Home for Animals) began thanks largely to a £20,000 legacy from Tom Forster in honour of his long-time cat companion, Tibby. We got planning permission in 1981, and three years later our doors opened to our first animals.

We had two dog kennels, and no cat pens. During a bitterly cold winter, we used the office, the toilet and the shower room to house the first animals to come through our doors. It took several years for the Centre to be established as it was built mostly through volunteer labour, led and organised by Harold Hallwood himself (who sadly passed away in November 2009); then vice-chairman of the branch.

Since then, there’s been a lot of changes at the branch. We even had a few minutes of fame when we featured regularly
on Channel 4’s, “Pet Rescue” program in the late 1990s!

We built a new kennel dog block in 2003 for case animals who are brought in by National RSPCA Inspectors, needing extra care and attention. This also gave us a space to look after nursing mothers and their puppies.

In 2008, a new cattery, dog isolation unit for containing illnesses, and small vet space, were completed. Costing a total of £720,000, this took five years of fundraising, individual giving, and legacies. RSPCA Altrincham were incredibly generous and made a donation of £150,000. We had a wonderful opening event, where this state of the art facility was opened by Sam Aston, also known as Chesney Battersby-Brown of Coronation Street!

Sally now rehabilitated

What we do now

At Warrington Animal Centre, we take in case cats and dogs that National RSPCA Inspectors remove from abuse or neglect. Whilst they are with us we treat their conditions, retrain them, and get them ready for their new homes. Since 2012 we have been closed to the public, because of the need to keep the identities of our cats and dogs private.

To find our cats and dogs forever families, we need to teach them how to behave in houses and gardens. Lots of the animals we see have never lived in a normal home space or enjoyed the outdoors. We have created spaces like gardens, play rooms, and lounges on our site, to teach them how to behave in these, and play safely. The paddocks have lots of different sights and smells, for that ‘in a park’ experience while they can have a much needed run around!

Alongside our onsite kennel and cattery, we have isolation pens for cats and dogs that come to us with illnesses like flu. These are really important for controlling infections that could easily pass to other animals. Really nervous animals that would get stressed by a busy cattery or kennel stay here to get used to their new home gradually.

Whilst with us, we make sure they get the treatment, care, and training they need for a second chance and their forever home.


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All the changes we’ve seen over the years mean we will keep adapting to the challenges we face.

Going forward, we’re planning to restart our rehoming programme directly from the animal centre which will allow us to see our transformations through from start to finish! We’re also looking to expand our support of local dogs in need by re-opening our previously closed dog block. These changes means we can increase the number of student placements we can offer, and give back to the community.

To help animals that need us well into the future, make a gift or join the team of local volunteers! We especially who are able to give us a steady commitment of their time throughout the year

Thunder and Rain together in their basket
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