Luke was brought in to us as an injured stray and he was found to have a broken jaw. The branch arranged for an operation to wire the break so that Luke would be able to eat and he is now much happier than in the photo.
The cumulative cost of treatment for a succession of injured animals is scary. It's not so much that each individual operation needs a lot of money, but that there are so many of them.
This is a bit of an experiment: creating JustGiving pages for the next ten or so animals that we take in and seeing whether people are prepared to donate towards part of the cost of each animal's treatment.
If it's successful we need to have much less worry that at some point we are simply going to have to say: "No more," and agree that treatable injured animals will have to be put to sleep because we simply don't have enough money to pay for them to be helped.
A few days ago I took a call from a friend who'd been contacted by another of her friends who was in great distress because the complex where she worked had problems with squirrel damage in their roof area and pest control operatives had been called in.
Both of them were so upset about it that it was difficult to be clear what exactly was happening, but eventually they explained that that the squirrels had been trapped and were simply being left to die.
This is clearly not legal under UK law, which insists that bird or mammal traps must be checked at least once a day and I suggested that they should call the RSPCA NCC, making it clear that it was a complaint about the squirrels being caused to suffer, not about them being killed (which is not in itself illegal).
I'm still not absolutely clear whether the squirrels were actually inside live traps in the roof space, or trapped in the space itself after the holes through which they were entering had been blocked up, but my friend called this evening to say that one of our inspectors had visited the building and got the squirrels released (blocking the entrance holes after them so that they couldn't return).
I must say that I had been expecting that the result would be to ensure that the squirrels were killed humanely instead of suffering a lingering death—and a pretty pointless one as a couple of them are not going to make much difference to the total squirrel population of Cambridge.
Yesterday I took another call from an owner who'd used over the counter spot-on dog flea treatment on her cat. The cat was having a seizure as a result and needed urgent treatment, for which the owner had no money. I authorised payment for emergency first aid, using some of the funding recently given to us by the national society.
This morning the vet called me to say that the cat had improved, but still needed inpatient treatment and the bill at that point was over £300 - only £200 of which would be covered by the maximum amount we can give, so the owner will still be left with a bill for at least £150.
If the cat had been registered with our clinic she could have been seen by our veterinary service provider on the Sunday at a fraction of the cost and, of course, if she'd been registered at the clinic and had a suitable flea treatment product there none of this need have happened.
PLEASE DO NOT USE DOG FLEA TREATMENT ON CATS
The most effective treatments are those purchased via vets or via pet stores that are accredited to sell non-prescription medications. Always read the label.