Friday, June 3, 2011

Next dog show planning meeting Thursday 16th June

Holly and Graham, winners of our last show
This will be a combined dog show planning and volunteers meeting at the Corner House Pub, Newmarket Road, Cambridge, starting at 7.30pm.

Anyone interested in helping with the dog show on 9th July, or volunteering with the branch in general, would be very welcome. The Corner House does excellent veggie or non-veggie meals if you would like to eat as well as chat.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Adding up the costs

Some days I really worry that I am channeling the Reverend Arthur Broome, famous as the original founder of the RSPCA — but also for being thrown into the debtors' prison when he couldn't raise enough cash to cover the Society's outgoings.

Everyone seems to feel entitled to something from us, and it is rapidly getting to a point where things are completely top-heavy, with the number of people who think we should be doing, or paying for, something hugely more than those who want to help our work.

Part of the problem is that there is no useful feedback to animal owners to impress on them that they must do some planning about what they'd do if their pet was ill or injured. So many have no idea it may cost £100 just to have their animal seen—not treated—by a vet, on a Sunday or bank holiday. At that point tears and pleading won't do any good; lots of them genuinely don't have the ability to lay their hands on that amount of money at short notice.

If I'm unlucky and we get five of them in a day, then it's £500 spent that we can't afford—and most probably the animals will be put to sleep because actual treatment would have meant another £200-£600 that the owner doesn't have. Those five individual owners may have learned a terrible lesson (or they may simply go away thinking their pet died because we didn't care enough to pay the whole amount for treatment), but it doesn't have any impact on all the other people out there with pets and little or no money. 

So it's going to keep on happening again, and again, and again so far as I can see unless we can get on top of a system that gets treatment for the animal but does enforce some payback from the owner. Sadly hardly any vets will allow payment by instalments now, because people don't pay, so the animal charities are the only available solution.

It's no good saying it's the owners' responsibility to have enough money; or to take out insurance; or that they could have saved enough by cutting out holidays, because what matters is having the money available on the day, which most of them don't, and it's the animals who pay the ultimate price. 

Looking back over the past few months I am wondering whether the figures for euthanasia of unwanted animals are an almost pointless statistic because far greater numbers of treatable animals are being put to sleep through lack of funds, or, worst of all, dying in pain because they never even reached a vet. I'm almost certain that some owners ring up a surgery; are told the charge is £100 and just give up and wait for the animal to get better or die.

Sadly, I think being told their pet is going to be killed because they can't produce the money for treatment is the first experience many people have of facing up to responsibility that no-one else is going to sort out for them. All their lives they're being told they can't be expected to deal with things because they're disadvantaged, then suddenly they're slammed against the reality that their animal depended on them and no-one else is going to help—except us, and we simply can't raise enough money to do it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The two giant chess pieces

These giant chess King and Queen pieces were donated to our Burleigh Street shop last Sunday.
(Update: now sold).