Pet FBI settling in at new Pennyburn hub
Pet FBI, the animal rehoming service run by local volunteers, said they are settling in well at their new home at the ‘pound’ in Pennyburn.
The ‘Journal’ spoke to Lisa Patton from Pet FBI at the new premises, who said the team and the dogs are adjusting to their new surroundings.
“It’s very overwhelming at the minute. We’re trying to get a lot of work done to it, as well as take care of the dogs.
“We have still got some stuff to move up from our old premises too,” said Lisa.
Pet FBI (Found by the Internet) started as a lost and found page, but has developed rapidly over the years. The team consists of manager and supervisors for the centre, Lisa, Daniel, Leona and Aoife, as well as a team of volunteers who carry out dog walking and kennel cleaning.
There is also a team of foster carers for dogs who are too ill, or might need some extra care.
Lisa, who joined the team in 2013, said: “It got to the stage where there were dogs that we couldn’t reunite, no owners ever came forward, so we had foster homes. The foster homes worked well for a period of time, but then they started to get overwhelmed.
“At one stage one of the foster homes had seven dogs in the house. Following that we were offered a premises in Pennyburn, and then moved out to Longfield Road for the last two or three years, as it was a bigger space. We could fit seven kennels in the original premises, and 11 in Longfield Road.
“Last January the tender came up for the dogs and the pound. We had applied. I had also told them that we couldn’t do it without actually having this building, because we didn’t have enough kennel space. Even at the premises at Longfield we were overflowing. It was discussed, and was passed through Council at the end of January 2021.”
Pet FBI have, for a number of years, been taking dogs from the pound who were unable to find new homes, and would have otherwise been put down. However now the dog wardens will bring the dogs directly to the organisation to be cared for and rehomed.
Lisa added: “The Dog Warden will still pick up strays, but we have taken over the care for the dogs. So they don’t look after them anymore, they bring them here and we care for them. At the moment we have five strays which were brought to us. A lot have been rehomed, we have had six dogs rehomed in the last week.
“Once the dogs are vaccinated and neutered, they are put up for rehoming. Nine out of 10 times we can get the dogs rehomed. If we can’t get them rehomed, then they are put on transport to Dog’s Trust, and they go to England.
“If we can’t rehome them here, they will be rehomed somewhere.
“Last year and the year before, when we got our premises, we were taking dogs out of the pound. We were coming in and signing them out once their five days were up. Last year with Coronavirus, Dog’s Trust stopped their transport, so we were getting all the dogs. We had to stop taking sign overs. We had to take the dogs in from the pound. We kept all our kennels open for pound dogs last year.”
The new premises in Pennyburn is now fully operational. The inside of the kennels have been painted and scrubbed before the dogs were moved in, but Lisa said there are some changes still to take place.
“There’s a lot of graffiti on the side the building, so we’re getting that done up. There’s a few things on the outside of the building, just to make it look more aesthetically pleasing- get it painted and some paw prints put all over the walls. We’re also getting an outdoor meet and greet area built outside the office, and hopefully have benches put there as well.
“It’s brilliant down here. We have already seen an increase in out volunteers because we are more central. So when the restrictions lift we will be able to work as normal. We will be doing a big volunteer drive hopefully by the start of the summer,” added Lisa.
For more information on Pet FBI, visit www.facebook.com/Pets.Found.By.Internet.NI or email [email protected]