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Belfast tails are wagging as new PDSA branch is officially opened
The official opening of the new Belfast PDSA branch
A new free veterinary service for local pets was officially opened on Tuesday 3 April by The Right Honourable The Lord Ballyedmond L.L.D., DSc., FRCSI Hon, FRSC., D.B.A., Hon Assoc. RCVS., O.B.E., J.P., when he unveiled a plaque at leading veterinary charity PDSA’s new PetAid branch, in Shore Road, Belfast.
The PetAid branch is a ‘satellite’ site of PDSA’s Belfast PetAid hospital on Antrim Road. The new branch was opened in response to a 56% rise in demand for the charity’s services in Belfast over the past five years. In 2011, PDSA vets treated over 7,000 sick and injured pets from the city and the surrounding areas.
Together, the Belfast PetAid hospital and branch treat 90 pets every working day and provide around 44,000 veterinary treatments annually. These range from emergency and major operations to preventive procedures, such as neutering and vaccinations. The service costs PDSA around £1million a year to deliver.
Following a speech from the charity’s Chairman, Michael Bolton, guest of honour Lord Ballyedmond, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Newry-based veterinary pharmaceutical company Norbrook Laboratories, officially opened the new branch. He said: “As a leading global manufacturer in the pharmaceuticals industry, Norbrook is at the forefront of developing veterinary medicines for both large and small animals. Likewise, PDSA is at the forefront of providing free veterinary care to the pets of people in need of its charitable support. It already does vital work in Northern Ireland and throughout the UK and now thanks to this new branch, many more local people and their beloved pets can benefit from this excellent service. I am, therefore, delighted to declare the Belfast PDSA PetAid branch officially open today.”
The new Belfast PetAid branch cost £189,000 to acquire and set up. This was funded entirely by public support as the charity receives no HM Government or National Lottery funding.
PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Valerie Maguire, who oversees both local PDSA PetAid sites, said: “We’re very excited about our new branch and the difference it makes for pet patients, owners and our staff. As a charity we rely entirely on public support so on behalf of the team I want to say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported the charity.”
To be eligible for treatment at PDSA’s Belfast PetAid hospital and branch, pet owners must be in receipt of Housing Benefit and live within postcode areas BT1 to BT29, BT32, BT36 to BT43 and BT62 to BT67.
For information on PDSA PetAid services call freephone 0800 731 2502 or visit www.pdsa.org.uk.
PDSA Vet Nurse Gemma at the new Belfast branch with pet patient Pixi