Saturday, August 14, 2010

Calling these weasel words...

... would be an insult to weasels everywhere:
The Home Retail Group, of which Argos and Homebase are members, said it was committed to being a responsible retailer. A statement said: "The RSCPA has advised that it has no current recommendation for the size of a hutch for a single rabbit. In our autumn/winter catalogue we do make it clear that hutches should be used in conjunction with a run, we will be amending the website to that effect. We also offer a discount on a run if purchased in conjunction with selected rabbit hutches."
One reason why there is no official recommendation for the size of hutch for a single rabbit is that the RSPCA advises that rabbits should not be kept on their own!

Friday, August 13, 2010

How volunteers help stretch funding

If you use Battersea's income and rehoming figures as a base for making comparisions (One Battersea Unit)  something rather interesting emerges.

The RSPCA's overall animal rehoming is roughly 10 Battersea Units

On top of this we provide roughly half as many animal treatments as the PDSA

Total RSPCA income (including the branches) is roughly 10 Battersea Units and a bit more than half a PDSA unit.
So, on that basis, the rescue and law enforcement services of the Animal Welfare Officers and the education and campaigning activities are virtually thrown in free.

That rather knocks out the complaints that the RSPCA is spending money on prosecutions and campaigning instead of on practical welfare work.

If the branch volunteer network finally gave way under its workload and threw in the towel, I don't think funds could be stretched nearly as far as they are at present.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wordle Word Cloud

Wordle: RSPCA + Volunteers = ANIMALS getting veterinary Treatment and Rehoming

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Trial Leaflet Drop

One of our neighbouring branches had success in recruiting shop volunteers (and publicising the shop to get more customers) by distributing leaflets to houses in the streets immediately adjacent to the shop. 

The reasoning behind this is that these are the people who would have the fewest practical difficulties getting to the shop to volunteer for a few hours, whereas someone who had a long bus journey or needed to find car parking, would have much more trouble just getting to the shop.

I put out about 150 leaflets on Sunday afternoon and it will be interesting to see what results we get (if any). Plain black and white laser-printed leaflets are very cheap to do (less than 2.5 p each), so if it's successful this may be the way to go to advertise our shops in a targeted way.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Volunteers will be needed for our Newmarket Charity Shop

We hope that the legal negotiations for the lease of our proposed new charity shop  at 10A Market Street in Newmarket are getting close to a satisfactory conclusion.

Once we have the lease we will need more volunteers as soon as possible, not just to help serve in the shop, but also to help with collecting and processing donated goods to get them ready for sale. Our aim is to at least triple the turnover we achieved at the old shop and that will mean an enormous amount of work for the helpers who sort donations; steam clean and price them and finally put them out on the sale racks.

If you live in the Newmarket area and would like to help, please email

Monday, August 9, 2010


ARKive image - Reeve's muntjac licking its face
If you see a very small deer, like the one here, in your garden or even walking down the street, it is probably not a baby, but an adult muntjac deer. Muntjac are quite common in Cambridge and, because they are so small, they can survive in habitats that wouldn't support larger grazing animals and they can get through quite tiny gaps. If a deer is actually on the road you can reduce the chance of it being hit by a car if you shoo it off to one side (although there is obviously a risk that you might be sending it off on the wrong side). As the deer are living and breeding in the city it's not desirable to consider catching them and moving them into the countryside.
(click the image to enlarge it) 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What goes around, comes around

Very frustrating day of phone calls. It kicked off with a call about a cat whose owner had got her via the Preloved website. I'm sure she took the cat on with the best of intentions, but the words: "I rescued her from someone who didn't want her and she was in a terrible state," always make my heart sink. Typically the rescuer initially assumes that all the animal needs is feeding up a bit and equally typically it turns out that the previous owner was probably getting rid of it because they couldn't afford the vet bills. (Incidentally the man who bred puppies from a "rescued" bitch in the Panorama program probably got her in this way rather than from a rescue charity).

Late morning produced someone who'd bought a rabbit from a pet shop a few weeks ago; found "a hole" in its leg a few days later and after several days of home remedies decided the rabbit was ill enough to need a vet. Of course by this time every local vet was closed except for the premium-rate out of hours service. From his description I think the rabbit had probably been fighting with un-neutered litter mates and the "hole" was caused by a bite abscess bursting. All I could suggest was that he should ask the pet shop to fund some of the cost of treatment and that he should contact the RSPCA National Control Centre in the hope that they might be able to put some pressure to bear on the shop.

Closed the shop at 5, cashed up and staggered home, then to the supermarket for some food to keep me going over Sunday, just in time to get the latest call while I was browsing the veg. aisle. Four 9 week old puppies, the result of an accidental mating, and all with diarrhoea. On the plus side the owner had got them registered at our clinic on Thursday, so I could put him through to our veterinary provider. Also (for a change!) the pups were cocker spaniels, not more staffys, so if they can get over their digestive problems they ought to find decent homes.

Preloved and Gumtree seem to be getting more and more of a problem in terms of encouraging people to get animals they can't really afford/cope with. It's not easy to see what the solution might be as in some ways it's a good thing if owners rehome unwanted pets themselves rather than expecting animal charities to take them.