THREE COUNTIES DOG RESCUE ANNUAL REPORT 2015-2016
High Park Cottage,
Kirkby Underwood Road,
Officers The officers and trustees of the Society are:
Chairman/Head of Three Counties & trustee : Mrs. G. R. Mauchline
Secretary/Treasurer & trustee: Mr. M. J. Mauchline
Aims of the Society
Three Counties Dog Rescue has as its aims “to accept, care for, and find homes for unwanted, lost and stray dogs”.
Statement of Public Benefit
All dogs and cats homed by Three Counties are neutered, inoculated and micro-chipped. The conditions we set, before a dog or cat is re-homed, seek to ensure responsible ownership. For the public in general this means that disease is controlled, the proliferation of unwanted dogs that may roam the streets is minimised, uncontrolled cat reproduction is limited and the time spent by the various authorities involved with stray and lost dogs and cats is reduced.
Summary of the year’s achievements
We improved the lives of a record 206 dogs and cats in the period.
A charity shop was opened in Bourne and has been trading since the end of November 2015.
We improved the lives of 206 dogs and cats in the year; (with a further 12 out on trial). This compares with 192 last year, itself a record at the time. It also reflects a steady growth in the numbers from 150 in 2010.
Our band of volunteer supporters, regularly come to the kennels to exercise, socialise and encourage the dogs in our care. Some dogs arrive at the kennels in a traumatised condition and our team spends one to one time with them until they are restored to a happy and relaxed state and ready for re-homing. This requires infinite patience but successful outcomes are very rewarding.
Up to the end of March 2016 we had improved the lives of a total of 6243 dogs and cats since Three Counties was formed in 1971.
We looked after an average of 43 dogs and 3 cats at the kennels though the year and have a growing number of dogs and cats in foster care in addition. During the year dog numbers in the kennels peaked at 47 and cats at 9. Although numbers in kennels were down to 38 dogs and no cats earlier in the year numbers have grown steadily. We ended our financial year with 45 dogs and 2 cats at the kennels and these numbers have grown further since then.
It is a continuing battle to try to manage kennel numbers down to keep costs at a manageable level. The flow of dogs and cats needing homes continues unabated and is not helped by more major dog rescues referring enquirers to us when they do not want to take on particular types of dogs themselves.
Although we have controlled kennel costs to a degree, vet costs have risen in total, partly through the growing number of long term foster homes looking after elderly dogs. This augments the considerable costs involved in bringing dogs and cats that come to us back to full health. An impending increase of 20% in individual boarding costs will have a material effect on the coming year’s finances.
The real cost per dog and cat re-homed (largely comprising kennel and veterinary costs) fell to £845 driven by a combination of managing down kennel costs through lower numbers and by the additional numbers rehomed. (2015: £987, 2014: £885, 2013: £947 2012: £767, 2011 £804).
Three Counties continues its policy of not destroying a dog or cat unless its quality of life makes it fairer to do so, or it is a danger to staff and volunteers, but this means a growing number of older dogs are with us in the kennels and in foster care.
96 animals were neutered in the period (2015: 90), 133 animals fully vaccinated (2015:144) 337 separate injections- 2015: 265) and 57 micro-chipped at the veterinary centre (2015:87).
We have all the animals coming into our care checked by our Vet and often they have ailments that need attention. The cost of this care is a major part of our expenditure.
We have spent large amounts bringing dogs and cats back to full health before re-homing them. The veterinary care costs for ten animals in 2015 exceeded £1000 (including one over £3000 and one over £2000). The costs for these ten represented almost 25% of the total vet costs in that year.
(2) Annual Expenditure
Expenditure (net of VAT recovery) relating to the period April 2015/March 2016 was £190,296. (2015: £188,499).
This expenditure was split: Boarding fees £83,068 (2015: £99,434)
Veterinary fees £82,323 (2015: £78,057)
Advertising fees £ 5,087 (2015: £6,234)
Miscellaneous £ 3,709 (2015: £4,769)
Charity shop costs £15,805 (2015: £0.00)
We revised our advertising contract with the Stamford Mercury so that we had a larger size advert published fortnightly. But the most common source of enquiries remains internet search engines.
As in previous years all expenditure on administration, travel, telephone calls etc. was borne by the trustees and the helpers. For the management team alone hours devoted to dog and cat rescue continue to amount to at least 8000 per annum. We estimate the absorbed travel costs for them at £8,000 per annum and an estimated 600 outbound telephone calls are made each month. In addition volunteer helpers incur their own travel costs and put in a great many additional unpaid hours at the kennels, fostering dogs, helping with transport, home checks and fundraising.
Many hours are spent by the website manager and by a volunteer who manages the dog and cat descriptions on the site and on the Facebook page. An innovation has been the introduction of videos of each animal with some stories put to music.
The Charity Shop:
We took a decision, towards the end of 2015, to open a Charity shop in Bourne. Our target was to be open for business by the time of the Bourne Christmas Street Market and the switching on of the Christmas lights. This proved challenging because leases were only signed three days before this. With our usual positive approach our band of supporters turned out to paint the shop throughout, erect the displays and put out the stock. It provided a perfect opportunity for shoppers to visit us for our grand opening.
The shop is progressing well, having taken £18,460 (net of vat) in its first four months. Set up costs of just over £8,000 were incurred and we took a decision to invest in the equipment and systems needed to enable us to claim Gift Aid on goods donated for sale by tax payers. Although this will delay the date when the shop can contribute to the Rescue funds, it will provide long term financial benefits.
Sales/collections and events raised £26,500 (2015 – £33,600). The collecting team now run by Judy Caunt, Penny Wright and Marjorie Briggs weighed in with their customary five figure contribution. The declining benefit of Peterborough Market caused through a reduction in our selling space and falling visitors led to the loss of £5,000 from this source. This was balanced by our selection as Charity of the Year by M&S at Springfields Outlets where £5,000 was raised through the year. Takings from the other sources (Sponsored events, other sales and fundraising events) were down as was the dog show takings – brought to an early finish by the weather.
(3) Payments for dogs and cats rose to £18,350 (2015: £16,140)
Donations, including those made through the “Sponsor a Dog” scheme grew to £39,600.
The “Sponsor a Dog” scheme had 29 sponsors including 22 regular donors to the scheme during the year. Together with these regular donors we now have a total of 70 supporters making monthly donations giving us a welcome regular income.
Commission from acting as an “introducer” for Petplan insurance continues to grow annually and amounted to £1,784 before VAT (2015: £1,235).
We promote the use of easyfundraising.org when people buy goods online. If they go through this site we get a small donation without increasing the cost to the purchaser. We have a number of supporters using this site but there is enormous scope for adding to these from our 3500 facebook members.
We were very fortunate to benefit from three legacies from supporters amounting to £53,000. We are keen to hold the bulk of this back to form the start of a fund to buy the kennels but some is likely to be needed to meet day to day expenditure. This is the first time we have benefitted from legacies of this size. Our leaflet, aimed at prompting people to think about what will happen to their pets if they pass away before them, has been taken away frequently. It includes a section inviting supporters to consider leaving Three Counties something in their will after their families have been catered for.
We ran our calendar photo competition again and this proved very popular. Calendar sales made a profit of £650 before vat.
Charitable Grants and Corporate support:
We did not pursue charitable grants as we had received legacy income. However we did receive £1500 from the Animal Defence Trust, £1225 from Spaywatch and £1000 from the local charity the Jean Plowright Trust.
Mars UK donated £2000 and we benefitted by £700 from the Waitrose “green disc” scheme.
Our website manager designed a completely new website this year. It was very well received and continues to be a popular source of up to date information for prospective new owners. It now includes videos of most dogs and cats. There has been more than one million hits since its introduction; a number from Countries across the globe.
We have been careful not to bombard supporters with too frequent mailings but newsletters have been emailed to our mailing list of over 700.
Membership of our Facebook Group passed 3500. It has become a welcome source of updates by Three Counties dog owners. It also features some of the dogs and cats looking for new companions. Our fortnightly feature in the Bourne Local newspaper and a weekly “Dog of the Week” have continued through the year.
(4) Business procedures and practices
A training programme and record for helpers at the kennels
A complaints procedure
A vulnerable persons procedure.
We have also joined the Association of Dog and Cats homes.
Our partnership with Burghley Veterinary Centre continues to thrive and is crucial to the successful operation of the Rescue. It is reassuring to use a practice with dedicated and supportive staff who provide a twenty four hour care service on the premises. The support of Burghley Vets in allowing the use of their premises for sales, printing leaflets and documents for us has been invaluable.
Two of our longstanding trustees stood down during the year. Huge thanks go to Yvonne and Brian for their contribution over many years and they will continue as supporters of Three Counties.
We have explored the option of adopting a new constitution which will enable the Charity to operate as a “Charitable Incorporated Organisation”. Apart from bringing up to date the original constitution, created when we became a registered charity in 1981, it will enable us to add trustees to Three Counties Dog Rescue without them having an unlimited financial liability; previously an understandable barrier to recruiting new trustees.
We will continue to explore every option to raise the funds to buy the kennels we use. Success in this is essential to secure the long term future of Three Counties Dog Rescue.
Improving profitability of the Charity shop is also an aim as we learn more about the ways of the retail trade. We have come a long way in a very short time.
It has been another year of great progress and achievement. We are unrecognisable from the Organisation we were five years ago but we have to continue to move forward. I must always finish with a great vote of thanks to all our committed group of volunteers, both supporting the Rescue work and helping to run the Charity shop. They remain our greatest strength and our gratitude and that of all the animals, whose welfare we have and will continue to look after, goes to them.
Chairman – Three Counties Dog Rescue
1st June 2016