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  • Belfast Between The Wars


Belfast Telegraph, Friday 24th May 1929

The Dispensary for Sick Animals of the Poor, Tyrone Yard, Hamilton Street, Belfast, which from this month has been placed in the hands of the Belfast Branch of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was open to public inspection on Thursday.

Sir Wm. Coates (Lord Mayor) visited the dispensary, congratulated the staff on their work, and expressed his approval of the premises which are clean and spacious.

The dispensary has been open for a period of two years, during which a very humane and necessary work has been carried on in a quiet, informal way. Recently, however, developments have been made towards bringing the equipment, etc., up-to-date, and with more facilities at their disposal the veterinary surgeons are now able to meet all demands on their skill. All types of animals are among the patients – dogs, cats, goats, horses, cows, rabbits etc. There is even space allotted to bird patients. “We look after anything from canary to elephant,” remarked an official, laughingly, to a “Telegraph” representative.


Unfortunately the dispensary is at present open only on one day per week. The society aims, however, through time, at emulating other large cities and having the doors open to admit suffering animals night and day. Lack of funds is the only obstacle which prevents that ideal from becoming a reality.

The dispensary is the only one in Belfast where free treatment is given to animals of the poor. Even a twenty minutes’ visit to the premises is sufficient to show how great is the necessity for such an institution, and how much it is appreciated. Nearly 1,000 animals have been treated since inauguration. Capt. James Gregg, M.R.C.V.S., O.B.E., J.P., is the veterinary surgeon in attendance and is assisted by Capt. Ernest Higginson.

Among the members of committee who were present were Mrs. McVeigh, superintendent; Mrs. Morris Neill, hon. sec.; Miss Helen McConnell (chairman), and Miss E. Tedford, superintendent of the shelter portion of the work. Miss Walkington is president.

In Mr. T. J. Grimley, keeper of the animals, the “patients” and “lodger” at the shelter have a friend who appreciates them, and whom they appreciate. One “stray”, a fox terrier known as “Beauty”, is so attached to her master and to Hamilton Yard that on three occasions when a home has been found for her she has returned to the yard and pleaded for admittance.


A Shelter Department is a valuable one, and the society have given much assistance to the police in housing “stray” lost and neglected dogs. By Act of Parliament the home may not destroy an animal unless it has not been claimed after seven days. At Hamilton Yard, however, homeless or orphan dogs or cats are housed for sometimes six or seven seeks in the hope that an owner may be found. Where possible a home is found for a healthy animal. Sometimes it is difficult. For instance, a very attractive black doggie is at present waiting an owner. His last venture as a domestic pet was unsuccessful because he destroyed twenty-five of his mistress’s hens. He has promised, however, to be a better dog next time!

Our representative was favourably impressed by the painless methods of destroying unwanted animals, which are practiced at the lethal chambers attached to the dispensary. Small animals are chloroformed by the most humane method known, and a quick mechanical killer is used for the larger animals.


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