Our History

1842 - 1964

The origin of Little Valley Animal Shelter (RSPCA South, East and West Devon Branch) dates back to 1842 when the Exeter branch of RSPCA was first founded. Back then, Branch members tirelessly promoted kindness to animals through talks and education work.

Sadly, in those times, the drowning of unwanted kittens and puppies was commonplace and so the members spent any funds raised on assisting the public with the cost of neutering animals. It was not until 1964 when the first clinic and kennels were constructed, the charity had a base from which to work.

Paul Street, Exeter in 1926 – the site of the first RSPCA Branch.

1964 - 1990

In 1964 the Market Street RSPCA Clinic opened and over 20 years hundreds of animals were treated, cared for and rehomed from these premises. Sadly though, it was forced to close in 1987 due to noise complaints received by the Council.

Despite having no premises from which to work from the Branch continued to help unwanted animals from temporary private boarding kennels. During this time we were on the look out for a site to build a permanent animal shelter suitable for looking after animals of all shapes and sizes.

How the Little Valley site looked on purchase in 1990.

1990 – 2014

We built and officially opened our current shelter, Little Valley, in 1991 on a 21-acre piece of land, nestled in a beautiful valley, around 1.5 miles from Exeter City centre. A merger with RSPCA South Devon followed in 2013. In 2014 our cattery was rebuilt and opened.

Our new cattery, opened 2014.


In 2015 our small animal facilities were redeveloped and modernised giving us the facilities and space to look after even more animals. In 2020, and at a total cost of over £1.3m, we finished the rebuild of our dog kennel buildings, and also created a large training and meeting room.

Kennel rebuild ready to open – 2020.

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