New £1.5m animal centre to open

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A new £1.5m animal centre will open to the public on Saturday after more than 10 years in the planning.

RSPCA Leeds, Wakefield and District branch’s new facility in East Ardsley will care for and rehabilitate animals rescued from cruelty and neglect by the charity’s officers in West Yorkshire. The branch aims to find permanent, loving homes for the animals in their local area.

Branch manager Caroline Lewis-Jones said: “The number of people convicted of animal cruelty after RSPCA prosecutions was the highest in the country here again last year (93), and the number of complaints investigated by RSPCA officers in West Yorkshire (8,440) was second only to Greater London. We hope our new animal centre will be a symbol of the community’s commitment to combat animal cruelty and be a safe haven for local animals in need.”

Leeds boxer Josh ‘The Warrior’ Warrington, whose family adopted a St Bernard dog called Dexter from the charity last year, will cut the ribbon at the centre on Moor Knoll Lane on Saturday. The public are invited to join the celebrations from 1pm.

The first animals have been in the centre for about six weeks, including Angel, and potential new owners are invited to visit animals by appointment.

The new centre can house 15 dogs, 30 cats and, when completed, up to 12 small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs. There are isolation facilities, a vet suite, indoor dog arena and outside exercise areas, shop and visitor centre.