Animal rights activist denies ‘hate campaign’ claims over kennels

Northern Animal Welfare Co-operative's Leanne Evans with her online petition and dog Ollie
Northern Animal Welfare Co-operative's Leanne Evans with her online petition and dog Ollie
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AN animal rights activist has insisted an online campaign against a kennel that cares for Sunderland’s stray dogs is not a “hate campaign”.

The Northern Animal Welfare Co-operative started an online petition on the change.org website calling on Sunderland City Council to cancel a contract with Cleadon Kennels, that sees it take in the city’s strays amid allegations of mistreatment of dogs.

Northern Animal Welfare Co-operative's Leanne Evans with her online petition and dog Ollie

Northern Animal Welfare Co-operative's Leanne Evans with her online petition and dog Ollie

The petition has now attracted about 10,000 signatures, but furious kennel bosses insist they are the victims of “an organised campaign of false representation”.

Leanne Evans – a member of the animal rights campaign group – said they want the council to use another Washington-based service.

The 41-year-old, from Ford Estate, Sunderland, claims kennel bosses have refused an offer of help from the group, which included painting kennels and building a dog run.

Miss Evans, a mum-of-two, who has a Romanian rescue dog called Ollie, as well as three rescue cats, and foster dogs, said: “Rather than do anything to hurt the kennels, we decided to offer them some help.

“This is not a hate campaign against the people that work at the kennels, we know they’re doing the best they can with what they’ve got.

“We’re doing this for the dogs.”

Lorraine Carr, runs Cleadon Kennels, as well as the private West Hall Boarding Kennels it is based within, with her husband John, said: “I’ve already made what I consider a full response to the press.

“I stick by what I’ve said, that this is an organised campaign of false representation.”

A joint statement from South Tyneside Council and Sunderland City Council said: “We are aware of the campaigners’ allegations and will give them the proper attention.

“Regular inspections are carried out at all kennels, and the last scheduled visit to Cleadon in December revealed no problems.

Another inspection is planned in response to the allegations, and we can assure everyone that appropriate action will be taken if necessary.”