LOOKING AHEAD: Diana Lewis and Alan Jaques, senior partner Market Vets, inspect plans. Picture: Mike Southon 0901-20_03
THE NORTH Devon Animal Ambulance has had some good news after enduring a "horrendous" Christmas period.
Diana Lewis, who set up the charity in 2003, said: " "During the festive season, the number of unwanted dogs and cats has really shocked us.
"There was a case where two adorable kittens were thrown from a car window in Shebbear where they were discovered by some nearby residents.
"Another couple in South Molton called us to take away a terrier puppy which they had owned for only 23 hours.
But thanks to a local vet, the charity will now be more able to help animals like these.
The NDAA has been donated a working area in the new Market Vets practice on Pottington industrial estate in Barnstaple, which is due to open in February 2009.
The space will be used by the NDAA as a convalescent and special care unit for injured, sick and unwanted animals.
Ms Lewis added: "It will be a fantastic facility and we are so grateful to Market Vets for thinking about us.
"We are spending £30,000 of our patron's legacy to kit the area out with state of the art equipment.
"We will also be needing volunteers with some knowledge or experience of animal care to help out in the new unit so, if you are interested please get in touch."
The director of Market Vets, Alan Jaques, said: "We have been working with the NDAA for many years now and know how desperate for space they are.
"Many of our customers are based in Barnstaple already so the move was a natural progression for us.
"The NDAA section will primarily be an area where sick animals or those that have undergone surgery can get specialist care.
"The ambulance used to pay the vets bills for this service but now they won't have to."
Diana says the new premises will provide a lifeline for the charity.
"Unfortunately, with the credit crunch upon us and vets bills being very expensive, pets seem to be the first thing to go and we have had lots of calls from people asking us to take away unwanted animals."
For more information about the North Devon Animal Ambulance phone 07817 995751 or visit www.northdevonanimalambulance.co.uk