Over 40 animals have been reunited with their owners
We are urging the owner of a cat and the owner of a hamster, both rescued from the explosion in the Shaw area of Oldham, to get in touch. They are the only remaining animals in our care which have not yet been claimed.
Over 40 animals including cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits, a terrapin, a tortoise and some bearded dragons have all been reunited with their owners over the past few days. A small number remain in temporary RSPCA care.
At the scene
RSPCA animal welfare officer (AWO) Donna Holt has been at the scene every day since the incident happened. She said:
We've been working with the fire service and other agencies to get people’s pets back to them and it’s been very emotional for everyone involved.
Pets are part of the family and there has been a lot of concern from the owners of animals which were still in the houses and gardens that were cordoned off.
Candy the dog (pictured left) was retrieved from her home by AWO Holt yesterday afternoon to the great relief of her owner, Margorie Coppinger.
Margorie (pictured below) said:
"She ran off when she heard the bang and we had no idea where she'd gone. She'd managed to get into another house that was also behind the cordon and the RSPCA officer found her on the bed, frightened to death.
"It was such a relief to have her back.
"She's getting on very well. She's tired and was starving hungry but she's fine. We're just grateful to everyone for everything they've done for us."
Staff and volunteers from both RSPCA Rochdale & District Branch and RSPCA Bury, Oldham & District Branch, whose area actually covers Shaw, have also been to the scene every day.
Mandy Tierney, manager of RSPCA Bury, Oldham & District Branch said:
What the people of Shaw are going through is terrible. This is our community and these are our supporters and we wanted to help in any way we could.
We’ve had staff and volunteers at the cordon handling and transporting animals to our centres or into private boarding until they could be reunited with their owners. We’ve also had our mobile welfare clinic at the scene along with a vet from RSPCA Greater Manchester Animal Hospital so that pets could be checked over.
Thankfully, we’ve only seen superficial physical injuries although some of the animals have been left traumatised by what happened.
Still in our care - can you help?
A Syrian hamster is still in the care of RSPCA Bury, Oldham & District Animal Centre. The hamster is described as a brown and white male. Anyone who thinks he could be theirs or knows who he belongs to should call the centre on 0300 1111333.
The one cat in RSPCA care which hasn’t yet been claimed is described as a short-haired black female aged between about nine and 12-months old. She is wearing a black collar with a bell but isn’t microchipped. She also has a patch of shaved hair thought to be the result of her having been neutered around four weeks ago. She is currently at RSPCA Rochdale & District Animal Centre where she’s been nicknamed 'Angel'.
Chan Taylor, deputy manager there, said:
She is a lovely, affectionate cat and seemingly totally unaffected by what’s happened. We know there must be an owner who is missing her and we’ve very keen to reunite them.
We’ll be happy to hang onto her until her owner is able to take her back but we want to be able to set their mind at rest about her welfare.
Anyone who thinks the cat belongs to them, or knows who her owner is, should call RSPCA Rochdale & District Animal Centre on 01706 861897.
If anyone affected by the explosion needs any help or assistance with their pet, including the provision of pet food, then please call RSPCA Bury, Oldham & District Animal Centre on 0300 1111333.