Thursday, November 3, 2011

Welfare assistance

The Wirral News reports that RSPCA Wirral and Chester branch is having to cut staff at its animal centre.
"THE RSPCA’s Animal Centre in Wallasey is making further cuts and asking staff to volunteer for redundancy as its financial struggles continue. 
Last November the charity’s Wirral and Chester branch closed its clinic in Birkenhead – which was running at a loss of £20,000 a year – after trustees decided to focus resources on its centre in Cross Lane. At the time the branch, which has been in existence for around 120 years, was said to have just a year’s worth of running costs in reserve. 
Now trustees have decided their only option is to reduce staffing costs and an animal welfare assistance scheme. From this week the scheme, which gives treatment for pets owned by people on low incomes, will be replaced by an emergency vet consultation. ... read more..."
Clearly the "newsworthy" aspect of this is the possible closing of the animal shelter and the effect on the branch welfare assistance scheme is glossed over in a way that suggests the reporter didn't understand that the branch previously offered help with the cost of treatment for pets of low income owners and now can only cover the cost of a consultation (meaning the owner must find the whole cost of the actual treatment). 

In many parts of the country RSPCA branches are the ONLY source of help available to people who can't afford to pay a private vet. In Cambridgeshire, our animal clinic is the only low-cost veterinary treatment centre for an area of 125 square miles, but in most cases a branch will support access to treatment by providing financial help for owners to use private vets. This is much more low-profile than having a facility of your own and something that's harder to publicise and fundraise for when times are tough.

Very few people allow their animals to starve—but I'm afraid quite large numbers of them simply do nothing about sick animals and justify it to themselves by saying they're not neglectful because they would take their animal to a vet if there was one whose charges they could afford.

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