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Battersea Dogs Home founder to be honoured with People’s Plaque

Animal welfare campaigner and Founder of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Mary Tealby, is to be honoured with an Islington People’s Plaque, after winning a public poll by the biggest margin and largest amount of votes recorded.
 
Born in Huntingdon in 1801, Mary Tealby set up what was initially known as the 'Home for Lost and Starving Dogs', after being moved by the sight of stray and starving dogs in the borough and becoming concerned for the creatures’ welfare across the capital.
 
By November 1860 she had raised enough money to establish a site in Hollingsworth Street, Holloway, where lost dogs could be exercised and either retrieved by their owners or found new homes. 
 
Mary Tealby, who lived in Victoria Road nearby, was keen that the ‘Home for Lost and Starving Dogs’ be a ‘temporary refuge’ and did not become a permanent residence or hospital for the animals.
 
Undeterred by initial scepticism and scorn, Mary gained the backing of some high profile supporters, including Charles Dickens and the RSPCA, of which Mary Tealby was a lifelong supporter.
 
She died from cancer on 3 October 1865, aged 63. 
 
The dogs’ home was later moved to a new and more spacious location in Battersea – known and now loved around the world as Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
 
The original site no longer exists, but the closest buildings are those of Freightliners Farm.
 
Deputy Leader of Islington Council and executive member for health and wellbeing, Cllr Janet Burgess, said: “We originally launched the People’s Plaques scheme to recognise those whose actions and legacies have shaped our community.
 
“Through her dogged efforts and campaign work, Mary not only helped to mould the history of the borough; she established what would become a beacon for animal welfare across the country.
 
“We’re delighted to be unveiling this plaque in her memory.”
 
Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Chief Executive, Claire Horton, said: “Over three million homeless dogs and cats are indebted to the vision and commitment of Mary Tealby.

“Through her sheer determination and passion she managed to establish the UK’s first home for stray dogs, which we know today as Battersea, and this helped pave the way for other leading animal charities.

“We are thrilled that our incredible Founder who created such a remarkable legacy will now be forever remembered by a Peoples Plaque in Islington.”

Mary Tealby’s plaque is to be unveiled at 14:00 on Friday 2 October 2015 at Freightliners Farm.