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.
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.