Helping pets and their people for life
Helping pets and their people for life

Every year, Wood Green’s dedicated teams work tirelessly
to provide safe shelter, specialist care, and a brighter future
for thousands of dogs, cats and small pets


How we help

Our teams work together to create an individual plan for every pet – from medical treatment to behaviour training. And when the pet is ready, we find them a loving home where they can live a happy, fulfilling life.

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Our services and expertise

As well as taking in homeless pets, we provide a number of vital services including free, expert pet advice on the phone and online. Plus workshops, classes, outreach support and more. 

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Together for pets: affiliations and partners

To make the biggest difference we can to the lives of pets and people, we work with multiple like-minded organisations. These valuable partnerships enable us to champion pet welfare and influence positive change. 

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Latest news


New Cat Care Centre

Opening this winter, our new Cat Care Centre will transform the care provided for homeless cats, increasing on-site capacity by 50%.

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The difference we've made

How we helped pets and their people during 2019-2020.


Over 50,000 pet related enquiries answered

8,448 pets helped through all of our services

4,269 pets brought into our care

13,000 veterinary procedures

How you can help



Any amount you can give will make a difference to pets in need, and help us be there for pet owners too.

Make a donation

Leave a gift in your Will

These special gifts fund more than half of everything we do – from shelter and care to life-saving operations.

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Become a sponsor and get regular updates on the pets you’re supporting, plus adorable photos and fun videos!

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Our policies

As one of the UK’s leading animal charities, we're often asked to comment on animal welfare issues.
All our responses are informed by our day-to-day interactions with pets and their owners.

  • Animal care policy

    Our ethical views on the care of all species. All representatives of Wood Green are required to sign up to this policy.


    To outline Wood Green, The Animals Charity’s ethical views regarding the care of all species.


    Wood Green recognises that animals are sentient beings and has the view that quality of life is more important than quantity of life. Animal health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not defined by infirmity or the absence of disease.

    It is recognised that all behaviour is a direct result of both physical and emotional states. While in the care of Wood Green all animals must be treated with respect, empathy and an understanding of their natural welfare needs and biological make-up.

    All animals’ current and future welfare will be safeguarded on both emotional and physical levels. They will be provided with a secure and protective environment, with or without a companion of their own species as appropriate, and the ability to express their natural behaviours.

    Animals will be afforded access to appropriate veterinary care to ensure physical wellbeing and freedom from pain and discomfort.

    If, for any reason, it is not possible to safeguard the emotional and physical needs of an animal within the Charity’s care its quality of life will be assessed and reviewed and appropriate action will be taken in a timely fashion.


    Whilst it is recognised that individuals have their own opinions regarding animal welfare, when representing Wood Green the viewpoint outlined above must be adopted.


    This policy will be reviewed biennially by the Animal Welfare Committee.

    November 2017

  • Our position on euthanasia


    Animals whose emotional and physical needs cannot be safeguarded will be assessed and reviewed. If they are found to have untreatable or serious medical problems, or behavioural issues so severe that we believe we will be unable to safely rehome them, then euthanasia will be considered. 

    Decisions will be made in a timely fashion, in order to prevent prolonged physical or emotional suffering in line with the Animal Care Policy.


    Our non-selective approach means that we deal with a wide range of animals, and as a result we regularly receive pets with serious medical conditions or behavioural problems. We give homeless and vulnerable pets the chance of a positive future, who would otherwise have nowhere else to go.

    We do all we can to help pets overcome serious medical conditions, severe behavioural problems, or both, but sometimes a decision has to be made about putting them to sleep. Such decisions are never taken lightly or in isolation. Our team of experts assess each pet’s quality of life and, for those with behavioural problems, the risk to other pets and people.

    Wood Green, The Animals Charity recognises that animals are sentient beings and has the view that quality of life is more important than quantity of life. The charity believes that animal health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  

    The charity will not knowingly put the public or other animals at risk by rehoming animals considered as a potential threat to safety. 

    If a banned type of dog is identified, we are legally obliged to euthanise in order to comply with the law, taking required advice from the police. There are four banned dog types in Great Britain under the Dangerous Dogs Act – the Pit Bull Terrier, the Japanese Tosa, the Dogo Argentino and the Fila Brasileiro.

    All animals are euthanised humanely and with empathy in accordance with the Animal Care Policy and current Veterinary practice. 

    All animals euthanised at Wood Green are cremated.


    If a decision is contested, the matter will be referred promptly to the Director of Care and Veterinary Services. Where appropriate, the matter may be referred to the Pet Services Committee. 


    This Policy will be reviewed biennially by the Pet Services Committee.

    March 2021

  • Animal intake policy


    To provide an efficient and sensitive intake process in which the welfare of the animal takes priority. 
    To provide a balance in the charity’s population based on available resources, excellent welfare practices and principles whilst reflecting the needs, requirements and capabilities of potential new owners. 


    Animals will be accepted at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately it is not always possible to accept animals immediately. Where resource or accommodation is not available, animals will be put on a waiting list and/or signposted to relevant, alternative charity services.

    Emergencies will be prioritised and dealt with on a case-by-case basis and assessed on their individual needs by our appropriately trained teams.  

    Stray animals will be taken in from members of the public and local authorities with whom the charity has stray contracts. If not reunited with their owners, the animal will be held, cared for and rehomed in accordance with current legislation, best practice and the Charity’s Rehoming Policy.

    Animals identified on enquiry / intake as having travelled / lived abroad may only be admitted in accordance with the Non UK Microchip Policy or Standard Procedure – Non UK Diseases.

    The owner, joint owners or authorised agent when relinquishing the animal to Wood Green, must ensure that they are entitled to do so and where required, must prove their identity. In the case of dogs, microchip legislation (The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015) must be adhered to.

    Once an animal has been signed over to the charity it will not be returned to the owner, their relative, friend, breeder, or other organisation unless in exceptional circumstances.

    Wood Green has limited facilities for, and experience of, exotic and wild animals; such species will be triaged appropriately and signposted to specialist organisations.

    The dog breeds detailed in Annex A will not be accepted, but advice and support will be offered.

    The selection of animals for admission will be based on the guidelines in Annex B.


    Any appeal should be referred to a Pet Services Senior Manager.


    This Policy will be reviewed biennially by the Pet Services Committee.   

    Annex A
    The dog breeds below are all banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 so will not be taken in by Wood Green, The Animals Charity:
    •    Any dog of the type known as the Pit Bull Terrier.
    •    Any dog of the type known as the Japanese Tosa. 
    •    Any dog of the type known as the Dogo Argentino.
    •    Any dog of the type known as the Fila Braziliero.

    Annex B
    Standard Procedure for the Selection of Animals
    •    Emergencies will be given priority over less urgent cases.
    •    Before accepting animals for intake, availability of current resource must be considered. Intake may need to be reduced / stopped if the standards set out in the Animal Care Policy cannot be met. 
    •    Admission of animals with severe behavioural or medical problems must be limited to no more than the relevant departments can effectively manage.
    •    ‘Medical history should be sought for all animals with ongoing, and / or significant previous medical issues before acceptance where possible.’
    •    Animals with severe contagious diseases should only be accepted with guidance from a Wood Green Veterinary Surgeon, or the Director of Care and Veterinary Services.
    •    Large groups of animals should only be accepted on the authority of the Section Manager and in consultation with the Head of Onsite Care.  
    •    Animals will be accepted from other organisations when space and resources allow. Agreement must be sought from the Head of Onsite Care.
    •    An assessment will be made (seeking expert advice where necessary) prior to accepting or refusing any dog of a type appearing to be bred for fighting, hunting large game, livestock guarding or having the characteristics of a type bred for these purposes.

    March 2021

  • Animal neutering policy

    When appropriate, we will neuter all animals brought into our care. We also educate owners on the benefits of neutering to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals and the associated medical and behavioural conditions. We actively promote neutering of other pets, not just those we’ve rehomed.


    To neuter all animals brought into the Charity’s care when appropriate. 
    To educate owners on the benefits of neutering in order to reduce the numbers of unwanted animals and to decrease the incidence of associated congenital medical and behavioural conditions. 
    To actively seek opportunities to promote neutering of appropriate animals outside of those rehomed from Wood Green.


    All animals in the Charity’s care will be neutered when it is clinically or behaviourally appropriate to do so (see Annex A). 

    Neutering will be a condition of rehoming, unless there are bona fide clinical or behavioural reasons not to do so as determined by the Managers in consultation with a Veterinary Surgeon or Behaviour & Training Specialist. 

    Wood Green will promote the neutering of all appropriate animals to the wider pet owning public and will actively seek opportunities to neuter through community outreach programmes. 

    Comprehensive records of all eligible animals will be kept and monitored by the Charity’s Veterinary Services Department and the Charity will aspire to ensure compliance with the neutering policy. This includes the uptake of the voucher scheme.

    Wood Green actively endorses and encourages the concept of kitten neutering under veterinary guidance (Annex B). 

    All Wood Green animals must be given post-operative pain relief under veterinary guidance.


    If there is an appeal regarding a decision to neuter an animal the issue should be referred to the Director of Care and Veterinary Services.


    This Policy will be reviewed biennially by the Pet Services Committee.

    Annex A

    Dog Neutering Statement

    Having researched the behavioural and medical implications of neutering dogs the Charity has recognised that a “one age fits all” approach is not in the best interest of all dogs.

    Wood Green recognises that dogs reach physical and sexual maturity at different ages. With this in mind our recommendation is that dogs should be neutered from 6 months of age (bitches usually before their first season) except in certain cases where behaviour or size indicates later neutering would be more appropriate.

    The exceptions to this would be:

    The current population dynamic of the breed (or breed type) dictates that it would be irresponsible not to take the opportunity to neuter when it is presented to us.

    Where the individual would benefit from being neutered earlier based on their behaviour (examples of this could be dog to dog aggression and over-sexed individuals).

    Annex B

    Kitten Neutering Statement

    Kittens should be neutered before rehoming and as early as 8 weeks of age (or 600g in weight) once weaned. Male kittens can be rehomed prior to neuter if testicles have not descended.

    This policy is supported by both the British Veterinary Association and the British Small Animal Veterinary Association. 

    March 2021

  • Animal rehoming policy


    To offer advice, support and guidance to those seeking to rehome an animal. 

    To match Wood Green pets in secure homes with responsible owners.

    To offer ongoing advice, support and guidance to those who have rehomed an animal.


    Animals will only be offered for rehoming if the charity can be confident that they have the expectation of a good quality of life where their physical and emotional needs will be met. 

    Wood Green has an expectation of potential new owners to be open and honest about their routine and lifestyle. Potential new owners may be asked to provide information to support the rehoming application.  

    The home environment may be checked by the charity before and/or after rehoming.  

    All appropriate animals will be neutered and microchipped before rehoming. Where an animal is not neutered before being rehomed, the new owner must take responsibility for ensuring that neutering is carried out at the appropriate time, to comply with the charity’s neutering policy. 

    The matching and rehoming process will be tailored to each individual animal and potential new owner’s needs. 

    The rehoming process will aim to ensure that the time the animal spends in Wood Green’s care is kept to a minimum.  

    A rehoming fee will be charged for all pets.

    Wood Green will keep in contact with pet owners to ensure the relationship continues to work well for both pet and owner.


    Rehoming of an animal will be at the discretion of Wood Green, The Animals Charity. If a member of the public contests a rehoming decision, then that decision will be reviewed by the Welcome Centre Manager. If the matter is not resolved at this level, it is to be referred to the Head of Customer Engagement. 


    This Policy will be reviewed biennially by the Pet Services Committee. 

    March 2021

  • Customer and community engagement policy

    We aim to increase society’s awareness of their responsibility towards animals. We want to be first in people’s minds for promoting responsible pet ownership and exemplary animal welfare in the UK and further afield.

    We will deliver education that is ‘inclusive for all’. We will educate children, young people and their families to improve the welfare of animals currently living in their homes and neighbourhoods - helping them to enjoy their relationship with pets and to become responsible pet owners in the future.

    We will provide relevant knowledge, skills and preventative veterinary care through our outreach service.


    To establish Wood Green as the primary point of contact for rehoming, advice, support and guidance relating to pets and pet ownership.

    To improve the welfare and health of companion animals by providing high quality, sustainable support, education and engagement programmes both in our Centres and in our communities.


    All activities offered by the Charity’s staff and volunteers will be non-judgmental and tailored to the customer’s needs. Where a pet has a home and it’s in the animal’s best interest to keep it there, the Charity will endeavour to ensure a successful outcome.

    All presentations and materials will reflect the ethical views of Wood Green, The Animals Charity. Wood Green will ensure that up-to-date and achieveable behaviour, training and welfare advice is given.


    This Policy will be reviewed biennially by the Animal Welfare Committee.

    November 2017

  • Gender pay gap report

    Read the full report here

  • Our rehoming process

    Channel 4's The Dog House, filmed at Wood Green, offers a fascinating insight into how we match homeless dogs with perfect new owners. However, what you see on TV is only a snapshot of each dog's story. 

    Every dog who arrives at Wood Green is unique, with their own background. Some need urgent medical treatment; others might need behavioural training. And some just need love and care while we find them a forever home. Of course, it isn't possible to show the full extent of this support in an episode of The Dog House. We get to know each dog in intricate detail, sometimes over weeks, and the rehoming process itself often takes a number of conversations and meetings - there's a lot that goes into giving each dog the best chance of a happy future!

    To get a deeper understanding of how we help dogs in our care, please visit our Dog House page where you'll find exclusive behind-the-scenes content.

  • Stray dog intake statement

    At Wood Green, we take in dogs with a wide range of needs and backgrounds. Some are brought to us when their owners can no longer look after them, others arrive because they have been lost or abandoned.

    At our site in Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire we have contracts with four local councils to help them manage stray dogs. These are Huntingdon District Council, Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council and South Cambridge District Council.

    We support these councils with the drop-off and collection of stray dogs 24 hours a day (except South Cambridge District Council – 08:00 – 16:30), seven days a week, 365 days a year; ensuring these homeless dogs can be taken in but also collected by their owners any time of the day or night.

    Stray dogs have been left to fend for themselves in the public domain and are some of the most vulnerable animals we care for. We provide safe shelter for them and all the care they need, including urgent medical treatment, for a period of seven days. During that time, we search for the original owners using information on the dog's microchip and tag if they have these (both are now a legal requirement). We also check lost and found websites as well as Facebook pages. If the owner can’t be located after seven days, ownership of the dog is transferred to us and we begin to find them a new home.

    Fines are incurred for stray dogs which are set by the respective council area. Wood Green can accept payment on behalf of the councils and transfer the money to them; we do this because we feel it's in the best interest of the pet and owner. Any disputes over fines are to be taken up by the owner with the council where the dogs are collected from.

    December 2019.

Learn more about


2020 Annual Report

Read about our impact on pets and their people last year.

Annual report

Our people

Meet Wood Green’s Senior Leadership Team and Trustees.

Read more

Wood Green's strategy

Learn more about our goals and how we plan to achieve them.

Download strategy