Sunday, May 13, 2012


Got home about half an hour ago after working in the charity shop all day and almost immediately got a call on the branch 24 hour mobile. This is answered by volunteers on a rota system and is primarily meant as a way people whose animals are registered to use our clinic can contact us in an emergency.

Today was one of my days to take the calls and unfortunately this one was from someone who'd been put on to us by Directory Enquiries although he ought to have been told to call the RSPCA National Control Centre. He'd picked up a young hare which he thought had an injured leg and wanted us to take it.

Most people are reasonable when we explain that our clinic only has facilities for domestic animals and that they need to call the NCC, who will have contact details for local vets prepared to give first aid to wildlife. If he'd been closer to Cambridge I'd have taken a chance and suggested he went to the 24 hour vet in Milton, but this wasn't really practical and, in fact, when in desperation I did offer that vet's details as one I definitely knew was open on a Sunday evening, the caller became really angry and abusive, saying that as I obviously didn't care and was just fobbing him off he would kill the hare by running it over.

I contacted NCC and asked them to call him as a matter of urgency, but I've no idea whether he did kill the hare or not (or indeed whether it really was injured or was simply a young one sitting waiting for its mother to return).

We are not magicians; the kind of service which the public expects from the RSPCA would cost billions, not millions to provide. If you find an injured animal we will ask you if you can take it to the closest available vet, because that is the option that will enable treatment to start as quickly as possible. If you can't transport the animal, an inspector or animal welfare officer will collect it, but this won't be instant, because there are fewer than 500 field staff covering the whole of England and Wales. In some cases a volunteer may be able to get out, but we do have to eat and sleep sometimes.

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