Thursday, June 23, 2011

So, what needs to be done?

Really not a huge amount per individual person. Our current problem is that the number of people who see the RSPCA as a service to be used is just too big in comparison to the number of volunteers who are struggling to provide the service.
  1. If 400 extra people donated just one carrier bag of saleable items at any of our charity shops, it would raise £4,000
  2. If they all completed a gift aid form that would add another £1,000.
  3. If 20 people with an interest in books and reading volunteered for half a day each week at our 2nd hand bookshop on Mill road they'd raise an extra £12,000 each year.
  4. If 5 more people volunteered for half a day each week at our Burleigh St shop they'd raise an extra £200 per week — £10,000 over the course of a year — by increasing the rate at which donations could be processed for sale.
  5. If 100 extra people visited our shops each week and all made just one purchase at each visit it would raise £13,000.
  6. If 200 people from our branch area did nothing other than join the RSPCA, we would have £1,000 as our share of their subscription fees.
  7. If 20 of them regularly attended our AGM each year we wouldn't have the annual worry that the AGM would be invalid and need to be held again,  due to low turnout.
  8. If 2 of them were prepared to join our committee it would mean we could be certain of having enough trustees to comply with the regulations for a valid RSPCA branch. 
  9. If 100 people each volunteered to collect for just one hour during RSPCA week (and were prepared to collect their tins etc. from us rather than having one of us deliver it to each of them) they'd raise £2,400.
  10. If ten people each got together with friends and organised their own fundraising event (coffee morning, open garden, car boot sale etc.) they'd raise £1,000.
That would secure the basic fee we have to pay for veterinary services at our clinic and mean our existing fundraising activities would comfortably be able to cover the additional costs of boarding and rehoming injured strays and cases from the Inspectors and ensuring that animals needing surgery could be treated.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Desperately worrying

Vets' charges seem to be going through the roof. We've just been quoted £400 for an x-ray on one of our rescue dogs to confirm that her broken leg is now healed. We may be able to get some reduction by shopping around, given that there's no desperate urgency to have it done immediately as it's simply confirmation she can stop being kept on restricted exercise. However it's a desperately worrying trend as it must indicate that an owner with no pet insurance is facing a £2k bill if their dog breaks a leg, which must mean that, for many dogs, a broken bone is now a death sentence.

Anyone who reads Cambridge Evening News will have seen the excellent write up they gave for our clinic's 75th anniversary. I originally wanted my quote about the situation of our clinic to say that around 4,000 animals are at risk of being put to sleep by their owners if we can't raise the money to stay open, but was advised to change that to say they were at risk of needing to be rehomed to avoid the possibility that, "RSPCA says 4,000 pets will be put down" would become the story. I'm not totally sure I was right to agree, because I think there's danger in trying to minimise the real situation, so as to put over a positive story, because it means no-one takes us seriously until we actually do fall off the cliff. 

Ultimately it's not physically possible for 43 volunteer workers to raise enough money to fund a service for over 3,000 people and we're very close to the point where we either succeed in recruiting more help or everything simply falls apart.

I see from their Facebook page that the PDSA are evidently in difficulties too as they appear to be having to be more restrictive about the conditions to access treatment at their clinics.


We periodically get enquiries from people needing help with socialising (rather than training) young dogs, so I was interested to find there is a local group who organise monthly communal walks: Big Walkies. Most of their events seem to be concentrated around St. Ives, where the main organisers live, but they do list some walks in Milton Country Park, and I would imagine they may schedule more this side of the county if they get enough interest. 

Membership is free (they request a donation of £1 per dog per walk to cover admin costs), so this may be an option for people who can't afford formal dog training classes but want to encourage their dog to develop a positive attitude to other dogs.

They have some sensible Terms and Conditions which walkers are expected to comply with:

  • Ensure that any dog(s) I bring to Big Walkies will be fully vaccinated.
  • Have valid pet insurance for any dog that I bring with me OR agree to financial liability for any injuries received by myself or my dog, as my pet is uninsured. (If your dog happens to cause/receive injury on a walk we encourage that any costs occurred are claimed via your pet insurance or via the civil court. Big Walkies accepts no liability for personal or dog injuries).
  • Have full control and responsibility for any dog(s) that I bring with me to Big Walkies.
  • Ensure that any dog(s) I bring has a fair temperament (due to member safety we cannot accept known aggressive dogs on our walks. We are here to help dogs socialise, but will not take any unnecessary risks therefore if a dog becomes aggressive/causes injury towards either another dog or a person on the walk they will be asked to muzzle their dogs on future walks or even asked to leave Big Walkies group).
  • Ensure that any mess that the dog(s) that I bring to Big Walkies creates is picked up and disposed of legally by myself.
(Disclaimer: as always, the RSPCA can't take responsibility for events that are organised by someone else).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Just donated at Burleigh St

This pic doesn't give a really good impression of how large these dolls actually are. They're porcelain with attractive costumes—rather the kind of doll little girls had in Victorian novels, although I think these are much later replicas.

Many thanks to the generous person who brought them in.