Saturday, July 9, 2011

First pics from the dog show

These were taken from my phone, and some of the people with proper cameras will have better shots, but they do give a feel of how the day went.

In spite of a few heavy showers everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we raised over £500. The Shelford Feast organisers have said they would be happy to consider letting us do the show as an annual event and it looks as though there's lots of scope for improving our total next year with the experience gained from this time.

Rain clouds blowing up

Heroic collector in dog suit

Rehydrating our shaggy dog collector

Face painting

Judging the best veteran

All in all this was a really positive event, with several visitors taking membership leaflets, and some of them taking advantage of the opportunity to get their dogs chipped.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Crisis upon crisis

Message from Vanessa, one of the Animal Collection Officers, to say she's just dropped off four seven week old GSD X Rottweiler cross pups after getting them signed over to the RSPCA.

Meanwhile, the other side of the county, one of our Inspectors is desperately trying to arrange treatment for an elderly dog owned by an even more elderly gentleman with no money. He's been quoted over £300 at a private vet.

We need more volunteers!

Fosterers, fundraisers, shop helpers, donors... You name it, we need it!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Horrendous morning at clinic

These pictures are a bit dark, but do at least give some impression of how swollen and sore this poor stray cat's pads had got. The pic immediately on the left is actually the underside of one of his front feet, and you can just see the claws round the outside.

I have a horror of really bad injuries to cats' feet ever since the time I trapped a feral tom who was literally walking on bone because abscesses had rotted away all the flesh of his pads.

To my enormous relief, the vets think this cat's problem is an immune-related dermatitis which is causing horribly painful swelling and bleeding, but isn't destroying the tissue in the way an infection would do.

He's got to go on steroids and antibiotics for a week and be confined in a hygienically-clean cat pen while (hopefully) the open, bleeding wounds heal up. Unfortunately all this will mean he can't be released where he came from as he'll almost certainly need to take steroids for the rest of his life, so he's yet another kitty looking for a permanent home.

The clinic was just non-stop busy, with two difficult questions about clients from long distances which illustrate the enormously worrying vet treatment situation. First was a gentleman who takes in rescue dogs and had been in the habit of using our clinic. Ironically he lives just next to Block Fen animal home in Wimblington, but we just can't allow him to keep registering extra animals. Second, and much more troubling was a couple from just outside our catchment area who'd been quoted £500 (which they didn't have up front) by a private vet to operate on their cat's broken jaw. We can't let them register because the University simply wouldn't accept it if we did, but I'm afraid they will be another group of people who'll go away and tell all their friends that "the RSPCA doesn't care about animals". 

I do care; we all care, but we do not have unlimited funds, and, like the PDSA, will be able to help fewer and fewer animals every time someone withdraws support because we can't help with everything.

Three weeks on Taylor's feet look a lot better. The really bad one (shown in the photos) is still red and sore, but the swelling's gone down, and his other three feet look almost completely normal - would look normal if you didn't know what you were looking for.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Animal Welfare Statistics for June

In June our clinic treated 274 dogs, 106 cats, 13 rabbits and 5 miscellaneous "small furries" - a 6% increase compared with June 2010. We neutered 20 dogs, 3 cats and 5 rabbits, and chipped 13 dogs and 7 cats.

We rehomed 2 dogs and 2 cats, but took in 1 dog and sixteen cats, so we urgently need more offers of permanent and foster homes. Please email if you are interested in adopting or fostering animals.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Repeat AGM

We didn't get the 10 members needed to hold a valid Annual General Meeting, so will be trying again on 2nd August. If you are an adult member of the branch you'll receive your notification by post towards the end of this week. 

The repeat meeting will be at 61 Burleigh Street, and will be slimmed down to the bare minimum required to elect a committee to keep the branch in existence, so it should only take about 30 minutes. 

I very much fear that the problems with branch AGM's are just symptoms of something wider and more troubling. In our area, roughly 5% of the population make use of some of our branch services during the course of a year (this isn't just the clinic; it's also things like helping with injured stray animals, advice and so on and it's not necessarily the same 5% each year). 

Roughly 0.2% of the same population are branch members, and roughly 0.02% are active volunteers.

Either we convince more people that we are not a statutory service and without participation there will be no service, or in a few years we will be a "downed branch" with no help for owners with sick animals and minimal ability to rehome animals from the inspectorate.

If you are not a member of the RSPCA, please consider joining. You can do it online by going to, or pick up a leaflet from any of our charity shops. Membership gives you a vote at branch and national level and means you can (if you wish) stand for election to your local branch committee and to regional and national trustee boards.