Blue Cross (animal charity)

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Blue Cross
The Blue Cross official charity logo
Founded 1897
Focus Animal veterinary treatment, rehoming and owner support
Area served United Kingdom
Key people CEO TBA
Revenue £26.9 million[1]
Employees 550[2]
Volunteers 2,000[1]
Slogan Britain's Pet Charity

Blue Cross is a registered animal welfare charity[3] in the United Kingdom, founded in 1897 as Our Dumb Friends League.[4] The charity provides support for pet owners who cannot afford private veterinary treatment, helps to find homes for unwanted animals, and educates the public in the responsibilities of animal ownership.

The charity works closely with a number of other organizations to promote animal welfare and responsible pet ownership.


1916 poster promoting the Blue Cross Fund

The organisation was founded on 10 May 1897 in London as Our Dumb Friends League, a "society for the encouragement of kindness to animals".[5] It opened its first animal hospital, in Victoria, London, on 15 May 1906.[5]

In 1912, the league started its "Blue Cross Fund" to assist animals affected by war. This fund went towards assisting animals affected by conflict including in the first and second world wars.[6] The name of the appeal fund became more widely known than the official charity title and the league officially changed its name to "The Blue Cross" in 1950.[5] In 2011 the charity dropped "The" from its name and is now simply known as "Blue Cross."


Blue Cross operate a number of services throughout the United Kingdom. Its first and primary service is the provision of veterinary services to animal owners who cannot afford the fees charged by private veterinary surgeons. They operate four animal hospitals, three of which are in London, at Victoria, Merton and Hammersmith, and a fourth in Grimsby, Lincolnshire,[7] as well as running mobile clinics throughout the country. Blue Cross carried out over 97,000 treatments, operations and diagnostic investigations in 2010.[1]

Two horse ambulances function as an extension of the Blue Cross animal care operation; they operate at equestrian events to recover injured horses from the field of play.[8][9] This follows on from being the first organisation to operate a horse ambulance, which covered the streets of London from 1900, rescuing injured animals.[10]

Blue Cross is also heavily involved in animal adoption, arranging adoption for companion animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits and small rodents, as well as larger species such as horses.[11] In 2010, the charity rehomed 6717 animals.[2]

The organisation also works to improve the lives of animals through promotion to pet owners and work in animal behaviour therapy. They also offer a pet bereavement counselling service for owners traumatised by the loss of an animal.[7]

Proposed closure of two animal centres[edit]

On 26 January 2010, Blue Cross announced the proposed closure of the two animal adoption centres (Felixstowe and Northiam, East Sussex), both of which had been in existence for over 50 years. Final decisions on both sites were announced on 4 May 2010. The Felixstowe centre was saved after an extensive publicity campaign by locals.


Blue Cross is affiliated with other organisations including the Society for Companion Animal Studies, the Irish Blue Cross and the Pet Fostering Service Scotland.[12] it also has arrangements with[13]


Medals have been awarded by Blue Cross to animals that have demonstrated bravery or heroism. While the first medals were awarded to people who helped to rescue animals, medals were awarded in 1918 to honour a number of horses which had served in the First World War. Medals were then given out between 1940 and 1951 to a number of dogs, including Juliana who reportedly extinguished an incendiary bomb by urinating on it. In 2006 Jake, a police explosives dog, was given the honour after helping to clear out the London Underground after the 7 July 2005 London bombings.[14]


  1. ^ a b c "Annual Review 2010". The Blue Cross. 
  2. ^ a b "The Boss: Kim Hamilton". Channel 4: Undercover Boss. 2011-07-12. 
  3. ^ Blue Cross (animal charity), Registered Charity no. 224392 at the Charity Commission
  4. ^ "History of the Blue Cross". The Blue Cross. 
  5. ^ a b c "Blue Cross: 100 not out". Mature Times. 2006-08-01. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  6. ^ "Object Focus - Brow band horse badge". Museum of the Manchester Regiment. 
  7. ^ a b "What we do". The Blue Cross. 
  8. ^ Cross, Diane (2007-05-10). "New look for Blue Cross ambulances". Horse and Hound. 
  9. ^ "Horse Ambulance Service". Blue Cross Kids. 
  10. ^ "Happy birthday to The Blue Cross". The Blue Cross. 
  11. ^ "Adopt an animal". The Blue Cross. 
  12. ^ "Our associates". The Blue Cross. 
  13. ^ "Dog Adoption Website Passes £9m Mark as 4,000th Dog is Rehomed". K9 Magazine. 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-12-12. 
  14. ^ Sam Marsden (4 September 2013). "Dog cocked leg to extinguish Nazi bomb". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 September 2013. 

External links[edit]