Friday, March 27, 2009

Please remember our charity shops

Spring is just around the corner and if you are having a clear-out, please remember that our charity shops can make good use of discarded textile items—things like curtains and cushion covers as well as clothes. Prices for rags to recycle are still good, so even worn-out items can still help us raise much needed funds. 

Non textile items need to be in reasonably good condition so that they can be sold in the shop, as they don't have a value when recycled. 

Please make sure donations are reasonably clean (no abandoned sticky sweets in pockets, please!) so that they're not unpleasant for our volunteers to sort. 

If you have a mix of worn-out/damaged and nearly new clothes, it is extremely helpful to us if you can pre-sort them into separate bags so that the worn-out ones can go straight into the recycling area. 

Donations can be handed in at either of our shops: 156 High Street, Newmarket or 188 Mill Road, Cambridge. We can usually arrange to collect if you have large amounts and live reasonably close to Cambridge.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Found Cat: Royston

She's a tabby, wearing a collar with magnetic tag. She was taken to Royston Veterinary Centre, Valley Rise, Newmarket Road, Royston, on Tuesday evening after being hit by a car. Now at the University Vet School Hospital. She has a badly fractured pelvis which will need surgical repair, but otherwise seems fairly bright. Email if you think she might be yours.

Clinic licensed for another two years

Steve Cheetham, the RSPCA Chief Veterinary Officer inspected our clinic yesterday, and we've been informally told that we've passed and will get our licence to run for another two years. I'm awaiting the full report to see whether he's recommended any things we ought to improve. All RSPCA branch clinics are visited every two years to check that they are being run in a proper and professional manner and that we are complying with the law on storage of medicines etc.

Particular thanks to Paul, our cleaner, who does a sterling job keeping our surroundings hygienic and safe for the animals.

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Clinic entrance off Whitehill Road

Sadly StreetView doesn't seem to think it ought to walk down private roads. We are the first turning to the right of the driveway, behind all the greenery.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Science books at 188 Mill Road: continued

You can also browse and buy online (there are more books in the shop, so please call in as well if you are in Cambridge).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ada Lovelace day

Today is the first Ada Lovelace day, celebrating women in science and technology. There are actually quite a lot of women who are prominent in the scientific side of promoting animal welfare; examples are Jane Goodall, Mary Midgley, Marion Dawkins, Karen Pryor and Temple Grandin.

Points from the Regional Board meeting

Lots of animal welfare activity going on, but the economic situation will mean retrenchment in many areas. In the East region, education posts falling vacant will not be filled, and the Branch Development Advisers will be reduced from 5 to 4. It seems to be generally felt that the RSPCA is in a better position than it was in the 2002 downturn, but we still need to make savings overall of £9 Million on the RSPCA's total annual budget.

As the cost of boarding animals until they can be rehomed is such a large part of the budget of both Region and the Branches, we need to redouble our efforts to achieve rapid throughput of animals.  We also need to work to increase income from sources which are under our control, such as our charity shops, visits to animal centres etc.

The new "Facing the Future" tool to help branch committees analyse their own branch's strengths and weaknesses will be coming into operation this year, following last year's trial. Committees will be asked to complete the spreadsheet immediately following their AGMs, when their annual report and accounts are freshly out, so that the analysis can be as relevant as possible. The spreadsheet records finances, numbers of volunteers, branch resources (e.g. shops, animal centres, clinics), current levels of animal welfare activities and what could be done to increase provision of welfare services in the branch area.

Lost Cat

Thistle, who has been lost from Tenison Avenue (CB1 2DX) since the weekend. He is a small, very nervous male, who is microchipped. His collar contains his phone number but he may have lost it. The numbers are 01223 328 490 or 07714 090 064

Monday, March 23, 2009

Regional Board at Block Fen Animal Centre

We had the chance to take a look round the new rabbit accommodation and I took some photos.

One of the outside runs, showing steps to indoor raised sleeping area. Note the litter trays which make cleaning out easier and also make a great "selling point" for any adopters considering keeping their rabbits as indoor pets.
Another view of an outside run, showing plastic tubes for behavioural enrichment.

Slightly blurred pic. of the raised indoor area. Notice how confident the rabbits are. Being on a level with the human viewers makes it easier to clean them out and helps display them to adopters. It also seems to make the rabbits more relaxed if humans are on a level rather than above them.
Rabbit going up the steps to enter the sleeping quarters via "rabbit-flap". We saw the rabbits confidently hopping in and out and they seem to learn to operate the flap very readily.