Monday, July 15, 2013

The real story about the RSPCA?

To make any sense of all this, you first need to get it clear that England and Wales is covered by RSPCA branches, which are independently registered as individual charities but share a single governing document (the branch rules). RSPCA branches (in this sense) are organisations which cover a particular territory (in our case the South of Cambridgeshire and a few extra bits). 

Branches may divide up (if the area is too big to manage) or amalgamate (if the areas are too small to make sense) but they can't take their "pot" of funds and leave the RSPCA and they don't close, although they may become short of volunteers or cash and have to reduce the amount of welfare work they do or fail to recruit enough volunteer trustees and be temporarily held in the trusteeship of the national RSPCA.

Branches may operate facilities such as an animal centre or clinic, and the national RSPCA also runs animal centres and hospitals—for example Putney animal hospital, East Winch Wildlife centre and Block Fen animal centre are all run by the national RSPCA, while our clinic in Cambridge is run by the branch.

Occasionally the individual centres are referred to as "branches" (as you might refer to a branch of WH Smiths), but the distinction is important to get straight because of all the bad temper surrounding claims that donations given to the RSPCA don't go towards running animal homes. 

Centres like Block Fen which are directly run by the national RSPCA are fully funded by them. The independent branches get an annual grant (currently £12,000-£18,000) but are expected to fundraise to raise any money needed over and above this to keep their own local services going.

This inevitably means that centres owned and run by branches have a somewhat more precarious existence than the national centres because they have a smaller cushion of reserves for hard times and because they're more dependent on having a team of voluntary workers which manages to recruit new members when old ones leave or become too old to do as much as they were.

Unfortunately, the branches are also the first casualties of political campaigns to reduce support for the RSPCA in order to make enforcement of the Hunting Act impossible and of the general public perception that the RSPCA doesn't need support because it has huge resources. 

Animal Welfare Statistics for May and June

In May we rehomed 1 dog, 2 cats and 2 miscellaneous "small furries". We provided 215 low-cost treatments for dogs, 72 for cats, 9 for rabbits and 8 for miscellaneous.

In June, we rehomed 1 dog, 9 cats and 18 of the small furries. We provided 195 low cost treatments for dogs, 73 for cats, 5 for rabbits and 6 for miscellaneous.

On average the number of treatments is roughly twice the number of individual animals as most will visit the clinic more than once in any given year.