Thanks for helping us care for the animals

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The manager of the area's biggest animal shelter has paid thanks to the public for helping to build a state-of-the-art veterinary centre.

The Stubbington Ark started 'The Ark' Appeal in 2008 in a bid to raise 700,000.

And thanks to public donations the centre on the Ranvilles Lane site has officially been built.

It comes just in the nick of time.

In the past, inspectors and officers at the Ark had been able to carry out basic first aid, give pain relief and put animals to sleep.

But this has recently been scrapped and only a fully qualified vet is able to carry out these tasks.

Mike Ward, centre manager of the ark, said: 'It's a godsend.

'Prior to that we had vets here working out of one room trying to neuter animals and do basic first aid.

'If we had anything major we had to transport animals backwards and forwards to Botley which isn't considered to be good for the animals.

'But this has just solved all our problems.

'We have a vet on the site five days a week and two vet nurses.

'We can do just about anything we want to do on site which is fantastic.

'We have got the place just in the nick of time.

'There are lots of shelters throughout the country that haven't got vet units.'

Work on the new centre actually started before the cash was raised.

'We had to take a gamble. We had to go ahead and start work because if we hadn't we wouldn't have got it with the recession,' said Mr Ward.

'We have now got a 21st century vet unit.'

Mr Ward added that everyone at the Ark is very grateful for the support from the public.

'The Ark itself is a huge animal welfare project,' he said.

'This is the single biggest project we have done since it was built. It's the best thing we could ever have done.

'To anybody who has helped towards this, all I can say is the biggest thank you you could ever give. It will be a long term investment.

'We have waited 20 years for it now. It's a great big dream come true.'