The chair of the UK's leading cat charity has resigned following a row over her allegedly keeping 18 cats inside her three-bedroom home.
Linda Upson, of Cats Protection, has stepped down from her role after sparking animal welfare concerns regarding the herd of felines at her property.
A spokesperson for Cats Protection said the former chair had 14 pet cats by the end of 2021 and looked after another six kittens that were expecting new homes.
They confirmed the kittens were kept in a “separate, clean and well-kept area of her house, in keeping with Cats Protection guidance” and said she currently has no foster cats, reports The Telegraph.
It comes after Interim chief executive Charles Darley quit his position at the charity after he reported Upson to the trustees for the housing conditions, which he believes go against the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) cat welfare code of conduct.
He claimed there had been a “breakdown of trust” with the trustees and said they only partially investigated his claims against Upson.
Upson, who had been on the board since 2012 and chair since 2017, said she had dedicated the past two decades to supporting the welfare of cats with voluntary roles within the charity.
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On Monday, she said she decided to step down as both a chair and a trustee because she did “not wish recent news coverage to detract from the charity’s vital work helping cats in need”, reports Third Sector.
“During this time, the charity has made great strides towards improving feline welfare in the UK," she said in a statement on Monday.
"This has included work to highlight the importance of microchipping, expanding our delivery of education and developing our advocacy work so that we can continue to speak up for cat welfare with parliamentarians and policymakers.
"My cats are aged between nine and 19 years old. I believe they are happy and healthy as each has their own feeding bowl, litter tray and other resources.
"They are all fully vaccinated and regularly taken for veterinary consultations. I also have no foster cats at this time."
Angela Swarbrick, deputy chair of Cats Protection and interim chair, commented: “We would like to thank Linda for her dedication to our organisation’s work on cat welfare for the past two decades.
“Cats Protection takes governance seriously and our trustees follow the Charity Governance Code.
“The charity undertakes regular reviews and has committed to an external review of its governance procedures and processes to ensure that we are confident in delivering the next 10 years of our strategy so we can do the best for cats.”
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