Thousands of animals rehomed during RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield and Bradford branch’s 143 year history

A photo of the RSPCA Halifax from 1980 to the Centre as it is now in 2024
-Credit: (Image: RSPCA)

As the National RSPCA marks its 200th anniversary, the Halifax, Huddersfield and Bradford branch is marking 143 years helping animals with a behind-the-scenes look at some amazing achievements thanks to dedicated staff and volunteers.

The world's oldest animal welfare charity was formed 200 years ago this year after a small group of people met in a coffee shop determined to change animals' lives and launched the SPCA on 16 June 1824. The charity was later given Royal patronage by Queen Victoria to become the RSPCA in 1840.

These 22 determined members - including MPs anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce, Richard Martin as well as London vicar Arthur Broome - created an organisation that sparked a movement that spread around the world.

READ MORE: Record number of cats and kittens being dumped, abandoned and given up

Around the year of 1881 back in Calderdale and Kirklees local like-minded people came together and created the area's first clinic and animal home, originally separate branches, both branches joined forces in 2010 to become RSPCA Halifax & Huddersfield, working as one to care for local pets in need across both areas.

Then in 2018 the branch took over the Bradford area too, after the Bradford RSPCA branch (previously based on Mount Street, BD2) was forced to close its doors permanently due to lack of funding.

Staff and volunteers at the branch are proud that they can still offer welfare assistance, advice and rehoming to Halifax, Huddersfield and Bradford nearly 150 years on from our humble beginnings. In the last decade the branch has rehomed 12,381 animals!

The centre has facilities to care for dogs, cats and small animals too - including rabbits, rats, degus, guinea pigs and mice.

Often animals that are taken in by the branch have endured horrendous suffering and neglect and the team are highly skilled in adapting their care and also to find them the best possible home, where they will never have to spend a moment suffering again.

The branch is funded by eight charity shops and relies on the generous donations from members of the public. They also have dedicated volunteers whose help is invaluable.

To mark its amazing history, the team have shared some of the achievements of the branch and some of the people who help support animals and people in the local community.

Meet some of the amazing volunteers

From cat cuddlers to dog walkers, delivery drivers and fundraisers - we rely heavily on volunteers to help us continue our life-saving work.

Fiona Igo (pictured) became a voluntary fosterer for the branch back in 2008 when she cared for her first foster animal - a cat named Sally. She also volunteers her time for our branch as a home visitor, fundraising event assistant, animal centre volunteer and has even adopted from us too! Fiona has helped hundreds of animals back on their paws as a fosterer and her support over the years has been nothing short of incredible.

Look at these amazing transformations of neglected animals who are now loving pets!

Poor little Spud arrived in our care in May 2020 after he was found extremely emaciated (weighing just 11.5kg) and had been left inside a garden shed. The RSPCA inspector who rescued Spud stated that his condition was so bad, he could barely stand.

Upon arrival at the centre, Spud was taken to the vets to assess his condition and a daily care plan was developed immediately to help him gain weight slowly and safely.

We wanted to focus on helping him adjust to his new life in kennels and ease him into gentle walks and training, to get him fit and well enough to eventually find a loving new forever home.

Spud recovered amazingly well in our care, gaining a whopping 9.5kg ... to take him to a healthy 21kg! He loved his office time, learning new commands and daily walks but most of all, he loved all the TLC he received from our fabulous animal care staff and has since found his perfect forever home, where he will never have to endure any pain or suffering... just the love and care he always deserved.

Spud’s new owners sent us an update not long after his adoption -"Spud has settled in so well. He loves his cuddles (often spending 7.30pm until 11.30pm on the sofa with us!) andloves picking the sunniest spot in the house to lay down for a chill!"

After such a horrendous start in life, we couldn't be happier for Spud, it's a real honour for us to be able to help animals in need like Spud. Hearing how happy and loved they are in their forever homes, is the icing on the cake for our team!

Check out our charity shops

The local charity shops play an important part in providing financial income for the RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield & Bradford to assist with the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of animals within the branch area.

There are many volunteer roles to suit a variety of skills and abilities including merchandising and customer service to name but a few - and there are shops across all areas of Halifax, Huddersfield & Bradford. All shops welcome donations of goods which they can sell.

Area Manager Jo Scott, pictured with volunteer Julie Hicks at the Queen’s Hall charity shop in Halifax, said: "We would be lost without our retail volunteers, without them we simply couldn't generate the funds we need to support our Animal Centre. It's so easy to support us from dropping off a bag of donations, grabbing a bargain in one of our Charity Shops or online through our Ebay shops"

Plans for the future

We want to continue to help the countless animals who rely on our services day in and day out, and for us this means continuing to hold local events for our community, welfare assistance to pet owners in need of support and find loving new homes for as many animals as we possibly can.

Lauren Moore, Fundraising Manager said: “For almost two centuries, the RSPCA has been changing minds, laws, industries and lives to create a better world for animals and people alike. We have come a long way in 200 years but there is still so much more to do.

“Here at The RSPCA Halifax, Huddersfield & Bradford, we have achieved so much in our 143 year history and we are still here to help animals in need and their owners who need us more than ever due to the cost of living crisis.

The RSPCA is getting more calls about abandoned animals, neglect is on the rise, rehoming has been declining sharply - meaning fewer rescue pets are being adopted - but more animals are coming into our care.

At the same time while caring for the animals, we are faced with increased bills and less donations due to the financially difficult economic climate.

But together we can help animals, and everyone can do their bit from donating funds to our centre, volunteering or dropping goods off at our charity shops.

We would also ask people to really consider rehoming a pet rather than buying one - together we can make the world a better place for animals.”

As the RSPCA celebrates its 200th year of changing industries, laws, minds, and animals' lives, the animal welfare charity wants to inspire one million people to join our movement to improve animals' lives. Together, there are actions, big and small, we can take to create a better world for every animal.

To find out your kind of kindness and turn it into action for animals visit the website, here.