Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bookshop looking festive

Apologies for the rather gloomy picture of Sharon; the light inside the shop isn't really bright enough for non-flash photos in late afternoon.

Many thanks to the volunteers who worked so hard decorating the shop: it looks wonderful.

Lots of cards and inexpensive gifts inside and enough books to tide the most addicted reader over the festive season.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Rabbit Hutches/Runs

Does anyone out there have a rabbit hutch and/or run of a decent size that's in reasonable condition and that they no longer want? We have a new rabbit fosterer who needs to be kitted out with suitable accommodation. 

He already has one run that would be suitable for rabbits if a hutch was set up inside it for the rabbits to be shut in at night for safety, so a hutch on its own would still be useful.

Experimental news aggregator

The RSPCA official press officers and several RSPCA branches are now on twitter. The summary below is from - a news aggregation service that will combine tweets from specified accounts into a daily report. Note that this is all done by a machine, not a human, and occasionally some of the headings selected are a little strange: Why does it think DogLost should go under "Entertainment"?

The adverts that are included are by and presumably are what generates their income.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nice to hear from one of our "EARS" pensioners

Ghost when he was in our kennels
Most of the time I groan when I open an envelope and it's yet another vet bill, but this time it was actually quite pleasing (at only £36) to know that Ghost is still pottering along and enjoying life in his adoptive home.

He's now had slightly more than two years of good life since being adopted (and hopefully more to come), and we feel that our decision to persevere with him has been vindicated. There's always a worry with older animals that keeping them in kennels long-term isn't doing them any favours if there's no realistic prospect of a decent future before them.

Some animals are clearly going to be slower to find new homes than others, particularly if they have the double disadvantage of belonging to an over-popular breed and being a little "over the hill" age-wise.

Where adopters may be put off because of the prospect of age-related vet bills it may be possible to arrange adoption under the "EARS" — Elderly Animals Rehoming Scheme, whereby we will cover part of the cost of veterinary treatment after adoption.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Novelty squirrel nutcrackers

I don't know how effective this little chap is at cracking nuts, but he's very cute.

Recently donated to our Burleigh St. Charity shop.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stray dogs

The National RSPCA website has a news item on the concern that dog warden services are likely to be selected for cutbacks. There are some indications that simply abolishing a statutory service as a cost-saving measure is being considered by some politicians—Hammersmith and Fulham's website bluntly states that "Passing the responsibility for stray dogs onto the RSPCA" would save council funds.

Which would be all very well if we really did have limitless funds, which we do not.

It may help if I give a bit of background to explain the current legal situation in relation to stray dogs.

Until 2008, responsibility was shared between the local authority and the Police. The LA was expected to run a dog warden service during normal working hours (9-5 Mon-Fri), while the Police would take in dogs brought to police stations outside those times, or when a dog warden was otherwise not contactable.

The LA was responsible for arranging kennelling for at least 7 days, after which the dog would either be transferred to a rescue organisation, rehomed directly or put to sleep.

In 2008 responsibility was transferred to the local authority, although instead of the dog warden service being expanded to cover 24/7, most LAs simply made some kind of arrangement for "drop-off" points where stray dogs could be taken. The major problem with this is that many people who find stray dogs don't have suitable transport, whereas at least some of them could have walked to their local police station.

Stray dogs never were "the responsibility" of the RSPCA, although most branches take in some dogs from LA kennels; sometimes after the 7 day period is up, and sometimes directly from the dog warden. Sometimes dogs may be taken in directly from the public, either because they're found injured, or because they're in danger, but most animal centres can't take in dogs round the clock. Branches like us which rehome from private boarding kennels can't reasonably expect the staff to turn out at all hours except in very exceptional emergency situations.

I get an impression that many people often believe that the local authority holding kennels are "the RSPCA"—probably in some circumstances because the LA and RSPCA both board dogs at the same private kennels.

We don't ourselves as a branch routinely take in stray dogs from local authorities, although we're occasionally asked to take a dog to save his life and would do our best to stretch funds to accommodate one in that situation.

It looks as though we may be facing a situation in which we are being asked to take up more and more work that's being offloaded from elsewhere.

In which case fundraising has to be our highest priority at the moment. It is no good complaining that we are "all about money". Without money we can't pay vets bills or buy cat and dog food. We can save some costs by getting animals into foster homes, but realistically we still need to use boarding facilities for some animals.