Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Where will it all end?

Several cases this week have made me wonder what we're drifting into. We're seeing more and more animals owned by people with multiple problems who are struggling to look after themselves, let alone an animal, yet they are also the ones whose social isolation means pets may be their only friends.

Our clinic is subsidised from branch funds, but is not free for users and at present we would struggle to provide a higher level of subsidy, even if we disregarded the concern that making charity vet treatment too cheap may encourage people to take on more animals so that the final situation is no better than the one we started with.

However for some individuals paying for even low-cost treatment can potentially dig them into a financial hole from which they can't escape. I've always been a bit concerned that some of our owners might take out payday loans to fund a beloved pet's treatment, but even normal banks can create a situation where the borrower pays several times the loan amount if they take an unauthorised dip into the red and end up racking up daily penalty charges.

Pets are not seen as a priority for over-stretched social services, so owners can wind up with no money to buy food or pay their rent. One of the frustrations of what we see is that at least some of these owners are possibly capable of doing very light work which would give them an outlet, and help get away from the worrying scenario where their lives revolve around their animal because they really don't have anything else to live for. I say, "possibly capable" because most of them wouldn't realistically be able to compete for jobs with workers who don't have problems.

We can't fix society, but we can try to identify the owners who desperately need extra help and do what we can to keep their pets going for them.

We're struggling; the same few people try to raise funds, answer the phones 24/7, rehome animals etc. etc.

If you would like to be part of the solution, please consider joining the RSPCA. Membership details are at

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