News and events

On the twelfth day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..

Twelve months of working

Like many organisations, we have been continuously working throughout the pandemic. Although we were closed to the public for some time, our staff continued to care for the animals in our care and even took on more as the National Inspectorate asked for our help. Unfortunately, animal cruelty and abandonments did not stop and of course the animals already in our care still needed us! Our phone lines remained busy and pet owners still needed help so staff were on hand to advise our supporters, keeping them up to date via the phone, email, our website and our social media platforms.

As soon as restrictions eased, we were back to running adoptions and we had developed a new strategy for this to keep our staff and supports safe. We moved our office to Ashwellthorpe which was a real team effort, and now we have sufficient storage for our animal supplies and enough space for all of the team! Our shop staff worked extremely hard to get everything ready to re-open and with less volunteers and extra restrictions in place, this was very difficult. However they gave it their all and proved that a little hard work really does go a long way.

We have continued to work hard, running our shops and bringing in the much needed funds so we can keep helping animals in need, recruiting volunteers for a variety of roles, providing financial aid to pet owners in need, issuing subsidised neutering vouchers, offering animal welfare advice to the general public, educating in schools and social clubs, running our first event at our new premises and working hard to get Barkers, our new dog friendly café up and running. In fact, Barkers recently attended it’s first event and managed to raise some extra money to help our animals this Christmas!

We are always doing our best to help animals in need, to help pet owners as best as we can, to promote good animal welfare and to keep the Branch running so we can help more and more animals every year. Our CEO was in the office every day throughout the lockdowns, just in case our supporters or animals needed him! He kept the Branch afloat when it could have easily gone under and he has picked up the pieces in 2021. We are lucky to be part of a team who is passionate about animals, and will do anything possible in the name of animal welfare. Being a small local Branch, separate from the National RSPCA, it was a tough time, but we have all worked hard to keep it going and will continue to do so.

EmmaOn the twelfth day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..
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On the eleventh day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..

Eleven Collies Playing!

In September 2021 we had eleven collies signed over into our care from a house of over twenty! Their previous owners just couldn’t cope with so many and after accepting help from the National RSPCA, we assisted in taking on eleven of them. They had possible UTI’s and hadn’t been socialised properly so they needed some extra TLC and some expert training.

All the collies we received had lacked proper socialisation but with some TLC, they all started to become smart, intelligent little pups all with bright futures ahead of them. We have already found homes for some which is heart-warming, especially as I am a collie lover myself!

Chloe, Animal Welfare Manager

Here are some fun facts about Collies

• They are incredibly smart dogs.
• Queen Victoria loved them.
• They are excellent herders.
• Border Collies also make brilliant search and rescue dogs.
• They are superstars at canine activities such as herding, obedience, and agility.
• They are very people-oriented and are wonderful family dogs.

Although they do make fantastic pets, Border Collies were originally bred for herding sheep so they need lots of exercise and mental stimulation to avoid problem behaviour.

This highly intelligent, graceful dog is born with an instinct to work and responds extremely well to training. They are alert, agile and incredibly quick, both mentally and physically and relish the chance to learn and let off steam.

• Border Collies will thrive in active, outdoorsy households where they can be part of the action.
• Generally a sociable breed, Border Collies normally enjoy the company of other dogs and can get along with cats if introduced from an early age.

EmmaOn the eleventh day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..
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On the tenth day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..

Ten cats-a-leaping!

In April, we had some cats come into our Branch from a multi cat household. The owner had been banned from keeping animals and these cats were very unwell with cat flu symptoms and funny tummies. After recovering in our care, many of them have found their forever homes and it is so lovely seeing them living the life that they deserve.

So how and why could someone be banned from keeping animals?

When caring for an animal, whether it is in your home or for work, you must always stick to the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Failure to do so can result in prosecution.

Animal Welfare Act
Prior to the Animal Welfare Act, animal welfare law was largely reactive and action could only be taken once an animal had suffered unnecessarily.

The 2006 Act has introduced an important and new concept for pet owners and those responsible for domestic animals, e.g. breeders, those who have working animals or farm animals in England and Wales.

Preventing animals suffering
This means enforcement agencies and our inspectors can now act by advising and educating owners before their pets suffer. If this advice is not followed or the animal’s needs are not being met then action can be taken whether through a formal warning or in some cases a prosecution.

What does the law actually say?
Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act places a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps in all the circumstances to meet the welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice.

What does this mean for those responsible for animals?
In short it means they must take positive steps to ensure they care for their animals properly and in particular must provide for the five welfare needs, which are:

  • need for a suitable environment
  • need for a suitable diet
  • need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
  • need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
  • need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

On occasion the National RSPCA may decide to prosecute if they feel it is necessary. To ensure they command and maintain public confidence, prosecutions are only brought by them following a consistent, fair and independent review of the evidence.

EmmaOn the tenth day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..
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On the ninth day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..

Nine feral trappings!

Throughout this year, we have been to nine different feral colonies on nine different sites. This programme also referred to as Trap Neuter Release (TNR), involves the humane trapping of feral cats, neutering them and then returning them to their colonies.

TNR is an effective method known for managing feral and community cats and controlling their population. The cats are trapped by our Animal Welfare Team and brought to a veterinary clinic. They’re then neutered, tested for FIV/FELV (this is done in the form of a blood test), given preventative treatment for fleas and worms, microchipped and eartipped. Eartipping is where 7-8mm of their left ear flap is removed whilst under anaesthetic, is an internationally recognised mark to show which cats have received treatment and so don’t undergo the stress of trapping again.

After they’ve recovered from their surgery, the cats are returned back to their original site. All sites are named by our Animal Welfare Team and the cat’s microchip will reflect the area they have come from. If one is picked up, they can be scanned and identified as a semi feral cat from a particular site that is known to our Branch.

On occasion, very young kittens without a mum or very unwell cats will not be returned to site and instead will come into the care of the Branch. They will be put into foster care until they have fully recovered then a new permanent home will be found for them, using our normal adoption process.

Neutering cats, as well as stabilising the population has other benefits: fighting, yowling and other noise associated with mating stops, the foul odour caused by males spraying to mark territory disappears and the cats, no longer driven to mate, roam much less. The cats themselves are healthier and less likely to spread feline diseases. Meanwhile, rodent control is maintained by the cats’ continued presence.

As you can see, we go to all lengths to help feral colonies!


EmmaOn the ninth day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..
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On the eighth day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..

Eight hamsters chewing

When two became eight! In March we received a call from an owner who was very confused when their two female hamsters had babies! Yes it turns out one was male and the other was female and with this news, the hamsters were signed over to our Branch.  Read on for some interesting hamster facts!

Hamsters were “discovered” in the Syrian Desert

Less than 100 years ago Syrian hamsters were found in the Syrian desert. Although hamsters are native to various parts of the world, Syrian hamsters are the most popular pet hamsters that grow to about six inches long and live, on average, two to three years.

Hamsters are nocturnal little creatures.

Hamsters sleep all day and are highly active at night. They can be very noisy at night as they are quite active and like to run on their wheels in their cages all night long. During the day, they should ideally be kept in a quiet, dim area and left undisturbed to burrow and sleep in their bedding.

They love to hoard their food.

When eating, hamsters will pack their food in pockets, called cheek pouches, on both sides of their faces to snack on later. These pouches can extend from their jaws all the way to their shoulders. Did you know that he name “hamster” comes from the German word, hamstern, which means “to hoard.”

Their teeth grow continuously

Hamsters need something to chew on so their teeth stay worn down and healthy. Wood blocks and toys made from hay are good for this purpose, but avoid cedar, pine and soft plastic items, because they can be harmful if ingested.

EmmaOn the eighth day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..
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On the seventh day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..

Seven shops-a-trading

2020 was exceptionally difficult for our Branch, particularly our shops. With them being closed throughout the lockdowns we had a huge loss in finances. However, 2021 has been better and thanks to your support, our shops have been making up for 2020 and are continuing to raise the much needed funds for us to help animals in need.

I manage the Dereham Charity shop for the Branch. The shop has been going from strength to strength and has had fantastic support from our wonderful Dereham customers and community.
The outpouring of support for our charity, by our customers, donors and volunteers, especially the Dereham community, has been phenomenal. I would like to thank every single one of them for their continued support. I know each of the shops will reiterate this. It made our hearts sing.”

Krista, Shop Manager, Dereham

So why shop in a charity shop? We have so many lovely items for you to choose from such as books, jewellery, clothes, shoes, crockery and so much more! We’re even selling Christmas cards and we have many gift ideas for your loved ones. However if you are still unsure then below are even more reasons you should shop in our charity shops!

It's original

You may be able to find clothing and other items that will not be available in other bigger stores, allowing your originality to show and not be copied. There are not many places that you can find vintage items and random books for example! Also, when somebody asks where you got your new item from, you can happily say that this is a one off item you got from the RSPCA Mid Norfolk & North Suffolk charity shop and it was an absolute bargain!

To raise awareness

First of all, you can raise awareness about the effect mass consumption in shopping has on the environment and instead of buying completely new goods, you can buy  perfectly good-as-new items for half the price. Not only that, your custom means we can help more animals in need in your local area and by shopping in our shops, you will become an advocate for our Branch, showing your support for good animal welfare.

Value for money

One of the main reasons that our shops are so popular is that they are great value for money. In one shop, you are able to buy clothing of all types, jewellery, games, books, pet food all at a really cheap price and the list goes on! Not only are you getting a great deal, we are too as all of the money you spend on your purchase goes towards helping animals in your local area.

It's sustainable

Someone’s unwanted item may be the exact thing you are looking for so instead of it ending up in landfill, you can enjoy it and make it your own. Not only will you be helping the environment, you will also be helping animals too. Click here to see our blog on recycling. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

So there you have it, a few amazing reasons why you should give our charity shops a go. Find your nearest one by clicking the button below!

EmmaOn the seventh day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..
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On the sixth day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..

Six guinea pigs!

Guinea pigs, potatoes, piggies, guineas, whatever you like to call them, are great pets for the right person. In July, six were abandoned in a pram behind a bin in Norwich, including a mum and babies. They came into our care and the Animal Welfare Team sprung into action ensuring they had everything they needed; as you could imagine, they were not in the best state so needed some TLC.

• When excited guinea pigs may repeatedly perform little hops in the air, also known as “popcorning”.
• Guinea pigs communicate through a series of squeaks, chirps and purrs.
• A female guinea pig is called a “sow” and a male is called a “boar”.
• Guinea Pigs are born with teeth that are constantly growing throughout their lifetime
• The guinea pig can open its eyes while in its mother’s womb 14 days before birth
• Although they are called “Guinea Pigs”, they are not closely related to pigs, but named for their short, robust body & piggish appearance. “Guinea” refers to Guyana, a country within their natural range.

Care tips for guinea pigs

Guinea pigs cannot produce Vitamin C

That’s right! They cannot produce their own vitamin C so they need to be given this to help keep them healthy. The easiest way to do this is by providing them with plenty of veggies!

They do not like to live alone

Guinea pigs are social animals so need to live in groups or with another. The best pairing is 1 neutered male to a few females.

You may need to assist them with going to the toilet!

It is not uncommon for Guinea pigs to suffer with impaction where poo gets stuck in a little pocket near the anus. This is more common in boars or older Guinea pigs. If this happens, seek advice from you vet on how to remove it,

You will need to clip their nails

Guinea pigs nails continuously grow and can curl under into their paws. To avoid discomfort or injury, you should cut their nails on a monthly basis. if you are unsure how to do this, seek advice from your vet.

EmmaOn the sixth day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..
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On the fifth day of Christmas the Branch came to see…..

Lots of mice!

Did we say lots of mice? 340 to be exact! In March we assisted the National RSPCA by taking in some mice from one household that had around 200! In April we also assisted again and took in some multimammate mice from another household of around 140! The Natal Multimammate mice are known for having many more nipples than a standard mouse – between 16 and 24 – meaning they are prolific breeders and can have large litters.

Unfortunately, none of the mice were neutered or separated by sex so the situation had spiralled out of control.

We worked around the clock to find homes for these inquisitive creatures and months later, nearly all have found their forever residence. As you can see below, Wensley, Brie and Phili have settled in really well!

Mice are small rodents who can be very active, generally at night and around dawn and dusk. They are a prey species and therefore prefer to stay close to cover.

They are highly motivated to build nests to help them regulate their body temperature and are sensitive to light and noise. They are very quick to move and need to be handled carefully to avoid injuring them. Here is some information from the National RSPCA in how to care for your pet.

Your duty of care
Owning and caring for mice can be very rewarding. Typically, mice can live for about three years. Although this may appear a short time in comparison to other pet animals, owning mice is still a big responsibility and commitment.

Understanding mice’s needs
There is no one ‘perfect’ way to care for all mice, because every mouse and every situation is different. It is up to you how you look after your mice but you must take reasonable steps to ensure that you meet all their needs.

Read the National RSPCA ‘s expert reviewed pet care information to find out more about the needs of mice and how to make sure that they are happy and healthy: EnvironmentDietBehaviourCompany, and Health and welfare.

EmmaOn the fifth day of Christmas the Branch came to see…..
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On the fourth day of Christmas the Branch came to see…..

Four quail birds!

In March, four quail birds came into our care after being mistaken for hens! That’s right, their owner originally thought they were hens however it turns out they are all male and they began to fight each other. Their owner was concerned for their welfare so they were signed over to our Branch and are now living happily in their forever homes.

Quails are distinctive due to the combination of their stocky bodies and long, pointed wings. Their upperparts are brown, streaked and barred with buff, while their underparts are a warm buffy orange. Rarely seen, they are more often heard giving a distinctive “wet-my-lips” call.

Their breeding range reaches as far north as the UK, where they are the only migrant species of the Phasianidae family, which includes heavy ground-living birds such as the pheasant.

Due to their historical decline, quails are on the Amber List but are now in partial recovery. They are also listed on Schedule 1 of The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. (RSPB)



EmmaOn the fourth day of Christmas the Branch came to see…..
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On the Third day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..

Three reptiles!


In March we gave a home to Pringle, a lovely tortoise who was signed over as his owner moved house and could not take him with them. Another lovely tortoise was also signed over into our care in November.

Did you know that all tortoises have a bony shell made of hard plates that protect their soft bodies. The overall size, colours and features of tortoise shells and bodies vary from species to species. Generally shells are tones of brown, blacks and buffs with quite a bit of yellow in the case of the Hermann’s tortoise. The spur-thighed tortoise has a bony spur on the rear of each thigh, whereas the Horsfield’s tortoise has a claw on the tip of its tail. The marginated tortoise is the largest and darkest of these land tortoises; it grows to 30cm in length, with the edge of the upper shell of adults being splayed out at the back.

In June a gorgeous blue- tongue skink was signed over into our care because the owner could no longer care for it.

Did you know that blue-tongue skinks, are found in tropical forests of Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea. Their biology is the same in captivity as in the wild, so the captive environment should reflect the natural habitat as much as possible to meet their complex welfare needs. These include: the need for a suitable environment, a healthy diet; to be housed with, or apart from others; to allow normal behaviour and to be protected from harm. Bluetongue Skink Care Sheet (PDF 461KB) (1)

EmmaOn the Third day of Christmas our Branch came to see…..
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