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Little shop of horrors - from S&M gear to tarantulas, charity reveals top ten strangest shop donations

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but it’s hard to imagine that some of the weird, wonderful and downright gruesome items handed in to charity shops could ever be treasured by anyone. With items ranging from S&M gear to a dead tarantula, Blue Cross charity shops never know what they are going to get.

A survey asking Blue Cross pet charity’s shop managers across the country about the strangest things to turn up in their shops revealed that opening up bags of donations can be a bit of a lottery – and not always for the faint-hearted. The top ten weirdest items donated were:

- a dead tarantula
- a garage door
- a box of onions
- various S&M accessories
- an inflatable clown outfit
- a set of Harry Potter Russian dolls
- a live ferret
- a dog (which was taken to a Blue Cross rehoming centre)
- gold dental bridge with a tooth still attached
- a dead otter

Sue Smith, Blue Cross Deputy Shop Manager in Witney, Oxfordshire, said: “Our supporters donate lots of fantastic things to keep our shops well-stocked and help us continue raising funds to help thousands of needy pets every year.

“It is incredible thought to see what some people donate and there certainly is the odd heart-stopping or hilarious moment when we open up the bags. But people will buy the strangest things sometimes, so it’s definitely worth putting some of the less gruesome curiosities out in the shop - they can be the quickest off the shelves!”

Sue added: “There were no takers for the gold dental bridge though, I think the attached tooth was a bit off-putting!”

Blue Cross has 49 charity shops across the country, which raise vital funds to help thousands of sick and homeless pets through the charity’s network of hospitals and rehoming centres every year. To find out more about making a donation or volunteering in a Blue Cross shop, visit


Notes to Editors

• Blue Cross has been dedicated to helping poorly, injured and abandoned pets for over 100 years. We opened the world’s first animal hospital in 1906 and since then our doors have never closed to sick and homeless animals.
• Today we run four animal hospitals and 12 rehoming centres across the UK, which provide treatment and seek happy homes for thousands of cats, dogs, small pets and horses every year.
• Blue Cross actively campaigns to improve all aspects of animal welfare, working with the government, schools and others to improve the lives of pets and their owners. For more information, please visit

Media contact

Sophia Khan, Media Officer, Blue Cross: [email protected] / 020 7932 4070