Friday, March 13, 2009

Branch AGM provisional date

The provisional date for Cambridge Branch's Annual General Meeting is 30th June. 7.30 p.m. for 8 p.m. start at the Friends Meeting House, Jesus Lane, Cambridge. This the time when branch members have their chance to elect new committee members to run the branch in the following year. 

View Larger Map

We need to elect a minimum of seven committee members, and at least ten adult voting members must be present for a valid election. If we fail to achieve this (fairly low) standard, then the meeting fails and we will either be asked to try again or else dissolve the committee and hand control over to the National RSPCA until such time as a valid committee can be elected. 

If you are a branch member, please do try to attend your local branch AGM — apart from other considerations it is very embarrassing, and a waste of time and money, when senior staff from the Region turn out to an AGM and the branch can't even muster ten members to make it worthwhile.

The RSPCA is very dependent on volunteer effort. If you've ever thought "the RSPCA ought to do more about..." this is your chance to make a difference.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Music in charity shops

Bah, humbug! We already have to pay a £70 fee per shop each year to the PRS for permission to listen to the radio and it's now looking as if we will have an additional fee to pay to PPL. I have never downloaded music without paying for it, or made copies of tapes or CDs, but I do resent being forced to hand over the equivalent of the cost of two spay operations for something that has already been paid for by the radio station. I resent it even more when the volunteers are actually listening to the cricket and not playing music at all. 

East Winch Wildlife Hospital seal release

The RSPCA East Winch Wildlife Hospital is our regional facility for treating injured wildlife. It's paid for and run by the national RSPCA.

To view the video properly, scroll it sideways so that it centres on the page, then hit replay.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bramble clearing working party March 29th

We're going to make a start on clearing the brambles and piles of brush in the area at the back of the animal clinic on Sunday March 29th. Start 9 am (yes - I do know this is the day the clocks go forward), finish around 1 p.m. This is the fire exit route for the rooms to the rear of the building, so we need to keep it free of obstructions.

We could do with more volunteers (turn up any time between 9 and 1). You'll need gardening gloves, and it would be very helpful if you could bring secateurs or loppers.

Another stray rabbit

Found wandering in Caribou Way, Cherry Hinton at about 5 pm on Tuesday, 10th March. He's an un-neutered male, possibly mini-Rex; mainly white with some fawn markings.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Lost Cat - NOW FOUND

He's a tabby and white, neutered male, very recently adopted (not from us!) and got out of the house only a few days afterwards, so may be trying to make his way back to his old home. Please email if a new cat of this description turns up in the Cambridge area. Adopter is an OAP and worried about him.

Update: now found.

Lost cats again

From our inbox:
"Dear RSPCA,

I filled in a form yesterday regarding my cat “Toffee” who had gone missing. I just wanted to let you know that we found him last night. He had been accidentally shut in a garage in a house in an adjoining road to us.

I also wanted to let you know that I found the advice on your website saying that cats normally patrol a territory of up to 7 gardens in all directions particularly helpful. It was this that prompted us to renew our search of that area and to keep calling his name. Eventually we heard him miaowing in reply and were able to track down where he was shut in."
It's worth stressing again that many "lost" cats are actually stuck in some way. Healthy adult cats very rarely get lost in the sense of not knowing where home is unless they have been moved away from familiar surroundings (for example escaping while en route to the vet). Even when a cat has been badly frightened (e.g. by a dog or by fireworks) he or she will normally hide and try to work their way back home once things have settled down. This may not be possible if the cat has crossed some kind of barrier, such as a busy road or a fence that can only be jumped in one direction. Cats who have some kind of illness (e.g. epilepsy) which causes them to become disorientated may stray and need to be confined.  Un-neutered tom cats will wander over great distances and probably do know where home is, but won't "check-in" very regularly. They may be prevented from returning home if a more ferocious male takes over the land where their house is situated. This is one of the reasons why neutering has such a positive effect in prolonging the life of a male cat.

Comparing our site statistics for lost and found cats it's extremely striking that more than half of our incoming injured male strays are entire while less than a third of male cats reported missing are un-neutered (and those are mainly kittens).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Animal shelter management books

Shelter Medicine, by Lila Miller and Stephen Zawistowski, is a comprehensive textbook on the veterinary aspects of running a successful animal shelter and as such it's quite heavy-going and technical. It's organised as stand-alone chapters on various aspects of shelter management and is a book to dip into repeatedly rather than read cover to cover. That said, it's much more than just a textbook for veterinary staff with an interest in animal centres and would benefit anyone working in, or on the management committee of, an animal rescue organisation. In addition to purely veterinary aspects of animal care it also includes chapters on cruelty prosecutions, foster care, spay/neuter clinics, animal behaviour, feral cat control and animal rescue in disaster situations. 

It's written for use in America, so readers need to be aware that the legal situation will often be different in the UK, and there will be differences in the prevalence of some animal diseases (we are extremely fortunate that rabies is not normally a concern over here). If there's a similar book designed for the UK, I've not yet found it, so this is probably the best available text in spite of that drawback. 

Infectious Disease Management in Animal Shelters, by Lila Miller and Kate Hurley is a more narrowly defined book than Shelter Medicine and focuses only on control of disease in shelters. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

More dog accidents

Caution about leaving children and dogs together works both ways. Very young children don't know their own strength relative to small puppies and they can very easily drop them because they're not as co-ordinated as an older child or adult.
Last night's staffie puppy with difficulty breathing turned out to have several broken ribs, probably because he'd either been dropped or helped onto something like a high table and then fallen off. Staffies often don't react to pain by squealing the way other breeds might, and this one's owners only realised there was a problem because the little fellow was gasping for breath because half of his lungs wasn't working any longer.
This sort of thing is also why rats and hamsters aren't really suitable for very young children. Being dropped can badly hurt or kill them, and they will bit really hard if little hands clutch them too tight. Adult cats who like children are probably the best bet with toddlers as they're robust enough not to get hurt (and fast and strong enough to get away from an excessively enthusiastic child).