RSPCA shop gets dog mural to brighten people’s day – but Worthing council removes it after someone takes offence

An animal charity said it was ‘shocked’ the council removed a mural on its Worthing charity shop following a complaint.

Friday, 4th December 2020, 2:40 pm

The RSPCA commissioned a mural to put a smile on people’s faces as they passed their Worthing shop.

But no sooner it was there, it was taken down by the council after someone complained it was ‘offensive’.

According to the RSPCA, Worthing Borough Council apologised for the recent incident outside the Montague Street shop.

Graffiti the RSPCA had commissioned on the side of their charity shop in Montague Street, Worthing, by Horace was removed by Worthing Borough Council because there had been reports it was 'offensive'

The painting, called Evolution of Dog, was a gift to the charity by local artist Horace – dubbed Worthing’s Banksy – and showed the close bond between humans and dogs throughout history.

Nick Cockram, chairman of the RSPCA Sussex Chichester & District Branch, said: “It’s been such a difficult year so we’d hoped to add a little cheer with Horace’s fantastic mural on the side of our Worthing charity shop ready for when it reopened to welcome shoppers again after lockdown.

“We’d sought permission from our landlord, who was more than happy for the painting to be added to his building, and we were really looking forward to the local community seeing it too.

“Sadly, it was removed by the council within just 24 hours of being completed without us being consulted.”

Graffiti the RSPCA had commissioned on the side of their charity shop in Montague Street, Worthing, by Horace was removed by Worthing Borough Council because there had been reports it was 'offensive'

Horace spent three days creating the mural and was alerted to the council removing the painting by a fan of his artwork. He has since painted a small dog on the wall as a temporary replacement.

Nick said: “We were really shocked, especially as it didn’t appear any other murals or graffiti had been removed. We certainly didn’t intend to offend anyone – we just wanted to raise the profile of our shop to raise more money to help the cats and dogs at Mount Noddy.”

The charity is an independent branch of the RSPCA which runs the RSPCA Mount Noddy Animal Centre in Chichester. Last year it rescued 326 animals.

The charity said it was ‘reliant on the vital income raised from their five charity shops to continue to care for animals in need in the local area’. It hoped to replace the artwork with a fresh painting.

A spokesman for Worthing Borough Council said: “We are in ongoing and positive dialogue with the artist and the RSPCA.”

To help rescue teams reach the thousands of animals in need, visit rspca.org.uk/xmas for find out more about the Christmas Rescue campaign.