Live updates

Lamp post for dogs to spend a penny on QM2

Southampton's Queen Mary 2 is to have a major refit thought to be costing tens of millions of pounds. She will be taken out of service for 25 days next May to allow for the work.

There will be ten extra kennels for dogs and cats and a lamp post and fire hydrant for dogs to use to spend a penny to make pets from both sides of the Atlantic feel at home.

The lamp post was a famous feature on QE2 before she was taken out of service.

There will be ten extra kennels as the existing twelve often sell out.

The news today comes as the liner ended her crossing to mark 175 years of the company.

It is one of the biggest upgrades ever for a Southampton based ship.

She will have public areas upgraded with extra cabins aimed at single and family passengers.

The QM2 will be taken out of service for 25 days next May Credit: ITV Meridian

“Queen Mary 2 is an icon in the world of luxury ocean travel. A ship that turns heads everywhere she goes, she is the pride of the Cunard fleet and we are committed to ensuring her reputation grows ever stronger. These enhancements are just the beginning of an exciting revitalisation for Queen Mary 2, and we look forward to making more announcements about this impressive refit in the coming months. The ship was named by the Queen in 2004 at a ceremony in Southampton and built at a cost of £470 million. She carries 2,600 passengers and 1,400 crew and is today in New York having recreated the first crossing by a Cunard ship. That was to Halifax in Canada but QM2 is also visiting Boston and New York where the company also carried mail and Passengers in its early days."

– Angus Struthers from Cunard

Snakes alive!

The market for snakes - as pets - is flooded. And as a result they can be bought for as little as ten pounds. And that's bad news. Because they're being bought as a novelty and then abandoned - in record numbers.

One sanctuary in Kent is receiving dozens of unwanted snakes - incuding pythons and boa constrictors - every week. John Ryall reports, speaking to Wayne May of the Artisan Rare Breeds rescue, and volunteer Jesse Potter.


"Obesity crisis" not just hitting us humans...

Video. It's an established fact that, as a nation, we are getting bigger. But it seems we are also sharing our unhealthy eating habits with our pets. Four and a half million cats and dogs are estimated to be overweight.

But now there is a campaign to try and reverse the situation. Martin Dowse went to meet one pet owner from Poole in Dorset who decided to take action after her dog ballooned in weight.

He spoke to Suzanne Fox about her dog Diesel and Vet Chris Sydenham.

Crocodile lover keeps pet Caesar in his bungalow

Video. Keeping dangerous characters under lock and key is second nature to Chris Weller. For years, Chris Weller worked as a prison officer. Six years ago he retired. But security remains uppermost in his mind.

Not least because he shares his bungalow with a crocodile. Caesar is a cold-blooded killer, who spends most of his time in a tank. But like many of us, if he is left hungry, he starts to get agitated. John Ryall reports.

Picking up strays

The number of stray dogs picked up by councils in the south east has reached 9,200 - that's an increase of 10% on last year. The latest figures, released by the Dogs Trust, equate to 25 dogs being picked up every day by Local Authorities in the South East.

So is the family pet the latest victim of the long recession? Nashreen Issa talks to Adam Levy from The Dogs Trust, Nicholas Barnes from Pets at Home and an Animal Welfare officer from Brighton and Hove Council.

Pegasus the dog home from Afghanistan

Video. A family have gone to extreme lengths to bring home a stray dog their son befriend while in Afghanistan. Private Lewis, who was killed whilst on patrol, had Pegasus the dog as his constant companion. His family have now taken great solace in giving Peg a new home.

Now an artist from Oxfordshire has painted the remarkable little dog's portrait, which is hoping to raise money for charity. Heather Edwards spoke to Tony Lewis, Private Lewis' father and Shirley Cherry who painted the portrait of Peg.


  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Animal rescue crisis in south-east

For a nation of animal lovers we're doing a pretty bad job. Animal centres across Kent are reporting ever greater numbers of cats, dogs and other pets being dumped, abandoned or mistreated.

The RSPCA says its centres at Canterbury and Leybourne are now at crisis point - so full, they simply can't deal with any more animals. David Johns reports, speaking to Christine Dooley and Adele Collier from the RSPCA in Kent.

To help re-home a cat or any of the other animals, please call the RSPCA on 0300 123 0751 or visit