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Duchess of Cornwall opens new animal hospital

Thursday September 8th 2016

A "dog guard of honour" greeted the Duchess of Cornwall as she opened a new multi-million pound hospital at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in south London.

Camilla met staff and Staffies as she toured operating theatres and training facilities at the charity where she adopted her two Jack Russells, Beth and Bluebell.

The Duchess quipped she was going to "take some of them away with me" after meeting pooches like Nancy the Terrier, Peanut the Pug and Mickey the German Pointer, who she says has "a very charming face".

The new hospital will house 32 veterinary staff who will perform around 70 operations per week, while an attached centre of excellence gives more space for training and events.

Last year, the home says it cared for nearly 5,000 dogs and more than 3,000 cats across its three centres in south London, Berkshire and Kent.

The charity opened in 1860 and has looked after three million animals since then, according to trustee chair Amanda Burton.

She added that the "modern, state-of-the-art" facilities will help keep the home going for another 150 years.

Camilla cooed over Peanut, who was adopted after appearing on Battersea ambassador Paul O'Grady's show, For The Love Of Dogs, saying: "There's something very special about Pugs".

O'Grady joined the Duchess on her visit, saying they "work miracles" at Battersea and that the stigma around adopting rescue dogs was diminishing. He called the facility a "great British Institution".

"Before this opened they only had two operating tables here, I don't know how they managed," he said.

Copyright Press Association 2016