Monday, July 29, 2013

Weekend worries

Quite a lot of calls from owners with pets registered at our clinic needing urgent treatment, but this is why we're here and these could be passed on to our veterinary provider for (hopefully) a good outcome for the animals concerned.

More worrying were several late-night calls over the weekend from owners outside our area. These have to be referred to our National Control Centre as it would be absolutely impossible for us to take on financial support for the rest of the country on top of our existing load.

One of these involved a cat who had been badly attacked by a pair of dogs her owners had recently acquired. This isn't really the dogs' fault as from their point of view, unless they've been brought up with cats, a cat isn't really any different from a wild rabbit. The owner's own vet wasn't answering their out of hours contact number and they were in dispute with the only other vet in their location (I think again about finance).

The National Control Centre did the absolute best they could within their own financial limits, and offered to pay for an out of hours consultation fee at a third vet. This vet refused (which was within their rights as the cat was not their patient). Last I heard, the owner was going to drive to Colchester to the only vet NCC had managed to persuade to see the cat.

This is all hideously unsatisfactory, to put it mildly, when an animal is seriously injured and in pain.

Another call concerned a puppy who had broken his leg nearly a week ago and only got treatment because one of the owner's neighbours realised how serious the situation was and more or less forced her to bring him to our clinic.

The major welfare problem we see (as a branch) is not really cruel owners, but irresponsible, and sometimes frankly stupid ones. Their animals are probably more likely to have accidents because they don't foresee possible dangers, and they don't make sensible plans to deal with illness or injury when it does happen.

I have no idea what the real solution is, because draconian limits on who can have animals, and how many, would almost certainly just mean healthy animals dying because they don't have homes.

We need to raise more funds so that animals like these can be helped—none of this is their fault—but we also need some degree of sanctions so that help we give doesn't just mean irresponsible people get more animals to the point at which we (and they) are not coping again.

We also need to drive out the breeders who don't care where their "products" go so long as the purchaser is able to pay.