Saturday, November 10, 2012


Writing this at 4.30 am having had an emergency call to the branch helpline just after 4 so no point trying to get back to sleep as I've got to be up by 6 anyway.

Our clinic has out of hours emergency cover for animals who have been registered by attending a normal clinic session, meaning pets whose owners couldn't pay the £100+ unsocial hours fees which a private vet would charge have access to low-cost treatment instead of having to take their chances until morning.

What we can't do is provide transport; I can't really wake up one of our volunteer drivers at this time of night and it costs around £100 to call out the commercial animal ambulance. RSPCA inspectors are not there to provide a taxi service and in any case there simply aren't enough of them on duty at night for it to be practical to divert one of them away from other emergency calls because some pet owner has no arrangements for transporting their pets.

The 4 am call was regarding a large dog whose owner was doubtful whether she could get him into a car and is the third this month where the main issue for getting the animal treated was transport to the vet.

At reasonable times of day we can sometimes arrange for one of our volunteers to help but there really are limitations on what's possible.

Cambridge Evening News have kindly given some publicity to our survey about access to veterinary treatment and it's looking as though transport is a fairly major issue in stopping animals getting timely care.

Click here to take the survey

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