Thursday, January 3, 2013

More boring accounts stuff...

If I played my cards right it looks as if I could get our New Year clinic appeal into the national press. Sadly I don't think keeping RSPCA Preston's animal centre open is the Telegraph's main interest in this, so it might be useful to give a bit of background on the financial relationships between the central RSPCA and its branches.

This table from the 2011 accounts shows the funds spent on support of the 170 branches (amounts are thousands of pounds, meaning that the total support was £8,840,000 in 2011).

This means that (on average) the central RSPCA spends £42,000 on support of any individual branch (sales to branches can be ignored because there will be a corresponding incoming payment from branches). To put it in context: £42,00 is a bit less than half of our branch's annual spend on welfare work. 

In practice some branches will get more funding than others. There's a regular annual grant of around £12,000 per branch which all branches get and which can be used in whatever way the local committee thinks best. Discretionary grants are agreed by Council and allocated to specific branch welfare or development projects.

In addition, and probably more controversially, the central RSPCA provides support "in kind" by employing development officers to advise branches and running some administrative functions centrally  (for example I don't have to submit our VAT returns directly to HMRC, I simply send quarterly figures to Horsham and the accounts department there deal with it). This is probably the area that causes the most friction because we may sometimes feel we'd rather have cash up front than the help.

In practice I don't think many people could take on a branch absolutely from scratch and run it without any source of advice, simply because running a modern charity is just too complex. Some of the help is a bit like presents of odd socks for Christmas, but most of it is actually useful.

Where a local branch is unable to form a committee of volunteers to manage it, control reverts to the central RSPCA. The table below shows details of the branches which were in Council (central) trusteeship in 2011 and you'll see that they tend to be given a rather larger amount of financial support 
to keep them going. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Animal Welfare Statistics for November

During November RSPCA Cambridge rehomed two dogs, fifteen cats and one rabbit. Our clinic treated 182 dogs, 90 cats 11 rabbits and 4 miscellaneous "small furries".

At the end of each year we complete a return of our animal welfare figures to the RSPCA's HQ in Horsham and staff there combine the statistics for all the RSPCA branches, animal homes, clinics and hospitals to produce the detailed report which is published on the national website before the RSPCA Annual General Meeting in June.

You can see the full report for 2011 at and staff will shortly begin to compile the figures for 2012 as branches and centres begin to send off their end of year statistics. 

So, you can see that the 2011 figures are not exactly "hot news"; however as they've been reported in the press over the weekend I think it may be useful to pull out some of the information and discuss it in a bit of detail.

This graph shows the progress so far in reducing euthanasia of rehomeable dogs, cats and rabbits. One of the first things which stands out is that the introduction of "RSPCA Generated" in 2009 appears to have checked the upward trend which was evident from 2006-2008. (The second thing is that whoever wrote the Sunday Mail article either can't add up or was using the 2008 figures instead of "last year").

Calls to the RSPCA National Control Centre increased in 2011 compared with 2010

Note that most calls are not cruelty complaints but are requests for help: for example relating to injured stray animals, and far more cruelty/neglect complaints are resolved by providing help or dispensing welfare improvement notices than by prosecutions.

The national RSPCA spends much more on animal shelters and hospitals and on funding the inspectorate than it does on prosecutions. In addition to this its 170 independent affiliated branches (of which RSPCA Cambridge is proud to be one) all provide locally-based animal rehoming and veterinary treatment. Without the RSPCA there would be around £50 million less spent on community-based animal welfare benefiting animals and people.

Just to reinforce this: the majority of people employed by the Society are doing direct welfare work with animals (which is not to say the back-room people are just sitting about twiddling their thumbs; someone has to do things like paying vets).

By far the most common reason for euthanasia of animals in RSPCA care is veterinary advice that it would be cruel to continue to try to keep the animal alive. In 2012 this was the case for all animals put to sleep while in the care of our own branch. 

The RSPCA is the only charity in England and Wales with a blanket agreement with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons that it will pay for initial first aid of injured unowned animals (subject to some conditions aimed at preventing people from dumping healthy animals who are not strays). Sadly a fairly high proportion of these animals have injuries which are not treatable. The "Misc" heading includes some small domestic animals such as rabbits, guinea-pigs and ferrets, but by far the largest proportion is  wild animals and these will almost always be in a very bad way before they will allow themselves to be caught. 

Most of the hard work done by RSPCA staff and volunteers is not "news", but an awful lot of animals and people would suffer if we weren't there. It would be incredibly sad if a selfish and vindictive minority was successful in its destructive aims.